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rek Hunter | Dec 10, 2020
The story of Bradley Birkenfeld.
If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re not alone. It didn’t with me either. But his story did, or at least some of his story did. The rest was a bit shocking.
Birkenfeld is a whistleblower, someone who exposes corruption in either government or the business world that cost taxpayers a fortune. Through information from Birkenfeld, a former wealth manager at UBS in Switzerland, the federal government was able to recover “$780 million dollars in civil fines and penalties paid by UBS bank, and over $25 billion dollars in collections from U.S. taxpayers who had illegally held ‘undeclared” offshore accounts in Switzerland and other countries,”
That’s a lot of money, so you’d think the federal government would’ve been very grateful to Mr. Birkenfeld. After all, The New York Times reported in 2012 that his actions led to “(t)he disclosure of Swiss banking information — which caused a fierce political debate in Switzerland before winning approval from the country’s Parliament — set off such a panic among wealthy Americans that more than 14,000 of them joined a tax amnesty program. I.R.S. officials say the amnesty program has helped recover more than $5 billion in unpaid taxes.” But gratitude is not what happens when someone exposes the wealthy and connected cheating the system.