UBS Whistleblower’s $104 Million Award Poses Interesting Conundrum For Would-Be Snitches

Remember Bradley Birkenfeld? He’s the guy who single-handedly made the government’s case against UBS and forced the Swiss bank to hand over the names of thousands of tax cheats, which resulted in the US scoring $780 million from UBS and may have inspired some 33,000 Americans to “voluntarily disclose offshore accounts to the IRS, generating more than $5 billion.” And yet, despite his assistance, Birkenfeld wasn’t immediately thanked for a job well done. Instead, he was sentenced to forty months in prison (fair-ish, considering he showed a few clients how to avoid paying taxes himself) and told to piss off by the Internal Revenue Service, from whom he sought an award, because he was “not forthcoming about his own role in the scheme,” even as a Justice Department attorney admitted that “…without Mr. Birkenfeld walking into the door of the Department of Justice in the summer of 2007, I doubt as of today that this massive fraud would have been discovered by the US government” (or as his lawyer put it, “They didn’t know how to spell UBS until he showed up. He didn’t just give them a piece of the puzzle. He gave them the entire puzzle”). Now, after doing 32 months at Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution, getting let out early on account of “good-time credit,” and living in a halfway house in New Hampshire, Birkenfeld has finally been thrown a bone.

Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS AG banker who told the Internal Revenue Service how the bank helped thousands of Americans evade taxes, secured an IRS award of $104 million, an amount his lawyers said may be the largest ever for a U.S. whistle-blower. Birkenfeld told authorities how UBS bankers came to the U.S. to woo rich Americans, managed $20 billion of their assets, and helped them cheat the IRS. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2008, a year after reporting the bank’s conduct to the Justice Department, U.S. Senate, IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. He was released from prison Aug. 1…Birkenfeld, 47, worked at Zurich-based UBS, the largest Swiss bank, for five years. He sought a reward from the IRS of as much as 30 percent of any taxes the agency recovered as a result of his whistle-blowing activities.

Clearly this whole thing should stir up a few questions inside you all, chief among them: how much money would it take to get you to befriend or or take a job with some known rogue individuals so that you might later blow the whistle on them? Would you do any time for it? If so, how much? And are we talking Club Fed or a place where your roommate insists on cuddling?

UBS Whistle-Blower Secures $104 Million Award From IRS [Bloomberg]

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117 Responses to “UBS Whistleblower’s $104 Million Award Poses Interesting Conundrum For Would-Be Snitches”

  1. guest says:

    Stop Snitchin'.

    – C. Anthony, UBS Director of Compliance

  2. Bandersnatch says:

    $104 mm is a nice sum of money. However, you'll need to pay a lot of taxes on that unless you have a good Swiss bank show you a few things. Give us a call.
    – UBS

  3. Little Spoon says:

    why the edit from 'where your roommate spoons you every night' to 'where your roommate insists on cuddling' ?

  4. pazzo83 says:

    "They didn’t know how to spell UBS"

    Sounds about right.

    – US Gov't Competence Analyst

  5. Anon says:

    When are those new clamps gonna get here? These are all rusted-out with snitch juice!

    –Francis X. Clampazzo

  6. Guest says:

    He looks like the guy from Reno911.

  7. guest says:

    dk what my reservation price is, but if i have to cuddle with raj it would be in excess of $100mm

  8. Guest says:

    The good news is: judgement was for $104mm. The bad news is: internationl legal fees just came in for $105mm

  9. CFA Level 4 says:

    UBS doesn't, suck?

    – Confused Guest

  10. Mr Sparkle says:

    Somebody needs to warsh his mouth out….with detergent.

  11. Guest says:

    Expect a claw-back in November you cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit!


  12. guest says:

    what bonehead thinks he's going to blow the lid of a tax scheme that big and have his own involvement in it never come to light? the smart guy would have had his lawyer pre-negotiate immunity for a reduced claim on recoveries. a little less rich, but no prison.

    • Guestin says:

      For $104mm… So be it

    • Incitatus says:

      Doesn't apply here, but that's the really fun thing about Dodd-Frank: You can be actively involved in the wrongdoing, and you still get paid as a whistle-blower. Brilliant!

      -Dude that CANNOT BELIEVE that online CPE course actually came in handy

    • Brudda says:

      For $3.25mm a month, I think I'd do the 32 months and spend the time thinking about how I'd spend the money on release. Even better, because he didn't know he would be getting the cash, he'd have found out who his real friends are, rather than being surrounded by freeloaders.

  13. Guest says:

    In all fairness if I worked at UBS I would trade 32 months in prison for a bonus that could never be had if I still worked at UBS.

  14. zoroz says:

    Has he been paying estimated taxes on his earnings while serving in the federal system? Thanks,
    – IRS Assistant Commissioner

  15. F this spreadsheet says:

    Forget getting into an H/Y/P, GS, or a top hedge fund. Whistleblowing bonus is the NKI.

  16. Jay says:

    Anyone else see the resemblance to Jim Cramer?

  17. Momentus says:

    "Where's my dollahs?"


  18. Guest says:

    40 months and $100 million? Respect.

    – S. Dogg

  19. The Government says:

    We gotta do something with this fucking AIG cash …

  20. Shawshank warden says:

    Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution sounds kinda madeup.

  21. William Tell says:

    I do a better trumpet.

  22. Guest says:

    Turning states evidence the NKI!

  23. IRScube says:

    Can you be a whistle blower, whistle blower
    Let me know
    I'm gonna pay you monies to do it
    but the bid starts low
    You just put 2 and 2 together
    and tell me how the evasion flows
    Can you be a whistle blower, whistle blower
    Here we go

  24. Glad I. Left says:

    Now you know how to get paid at UBS!!!
    Break out a few more of those sekletons and cash in!!!!!!!!

  25. Guest says:

    I tried to report the activities going on at my firm, but the SEC said they need video footage.

    -Patriarch Partners Analyst

  26. The Grand Marquis says:

    this is the new UBS compensation plan: (1) commit crimes for base, (2) blow whistle, (3) collect from government. jail time and looking like Lurch from the Adams family are optional

  27. Horatio Hornblower says:

    Perhaps he learned to play the rusty trombone in prison after mastering the blowing of the whistle.

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