Recently headlines were made our government was finally going after the ultra wealthy tax cheats who hid their money in Swiss banks. This one case shed light on 4,450 Americans who were evading billions in taxes. The investigation began when Bradley Birkenfeld a former UBS employee pled guilty to helping Igor Olenicoff (a rich property developer in California) evade taxes. As a part of a plea bargain Birkenfeld worked with investigators to acquire the needed information to take action.
For years the official line was this was an impossible task for one reason or another. Everyone knew this was taking place it certainly was no secret yet it went on year after year. Lesser people are sitting in prison for Tax evasion while people like Obama’s Treasury Secretary get someone to pay their fine for the same crime. Apparently it really does depend on who you know or who you can pay off because now Birkenfeld is the only person headed for prison all the thousands of others involved are paying fines.
“Lawyers for Birkenfeld say that he should be rewarded as a whistle blower rather than treated as a criminal and he has applied to the Internal Revenue Service for a whistle blower reward which could bring him millions of dollars. However, prosecutors said that Birkenfeld failed to disclose all he knew about his own crimes, including his work for Mr Olenicoff, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to filing a false tax return.
In recent court documents, Robert Stickney, a lawyer for Birkenfeld, said the former banker was “ready, willing and able” to assist the Government in prosecuting other American clients of UBS. Birkenfeld, an American citizen who lived in Switzerland for 15 years, appeared on a television show on Sunday and in his first public interview said: “I gave them the biggest tax-fraud case in the world. I exposed 19,000 international criminals. And I’m going to jail for that?”
He added that 90 per cent of his clients evaded taxes and he claimed that UBS forbade online banking for its offshore American clients because of the risk of being detected by the authorities.”
There are still numerous other off shore tax havens most can only imagine the chilling effect this will have upon any other person who may have been considering coming forward. Most would have to agree with his attorney while two wrongs don’t make a right the crime to which he plead guilty is minimal in comparison to the greater good he did or should it be said that it would have been the greater good had our government not sent another signal to the big fish (wink, wink). Pay your fine and be more careful next time! After all with things being brought out into the open we have to appear as if you will be punished just like the commoner’s. Sorry for your inconvenience but we’ll send a message to make people think twice before inconveniencing you again!