Earlier this month the IRS awarded $104 Million to Bradley Birkenfield for revealing tax fraud committed by UBS bank.
Birkenfield was a former employee of the famous Swiss Bank. The bank came under scrutiny by the IRS in 2009 when it was charged with helping wealthy Americans hide their assets in bank accounts to evade tax liability. Because of Birkenfield and the IRS’ investigation UBS agreed to pay the IRS $780 million in fines, penalties, interest and restitution in exchange for an agreement to defer prosecution of the charges.
Although Birkenfield revealed many of UBS’ secrets, he was also charged and convicted of unlawfully withholding other information. As a result Birkenfield spent 30 months in prison, and was not able to collect his reward money until he was released earlier this month.
By the time Birkenfield received his money from the IRS, the actual amount he owned declined dramatically considering the costs of his own legal battle with the IRS and accompanying fines and penalties. Nevertheless Birkenfield definetly came out ahead, he reaped nearly $44 million after these expenses.
Birkenfield’s reward was the highest reward ever received by a single individual. Some legal experts believe that because of Birken’s high reward more informants will likely come forward in the hopes that they can also cash in on calling out fraud.
Nevertheless, the IRS is by far the biggest winner in this story, because of Birkenfield’s information the IRS was able to collect roughly $5 billion in taxes from banks and wealthy individuals.
Although Birkenfield was released from prison he is currently under home surveillance, and living in a friend’s estate in New Hampshire.