Bradley Birkenfeld, the former Swiss banker who became an IRS whistleblower and was awarded $104 million after serving a U.S. prison sentence, wants his probation to end early so he can move back to Europe.
Birkenfeld was in federal prison until August 2012, serving a 30-month sentence. As a private banker for UBS, he helped people cheat the U.S. government out of taxes. He once smuggled diamonds in a tube of toothpaste for a client, the DOJ said.
Birkenfeld became a whistleblower against UBS. His information exposed 35,000 U.S. taxpayers who were hiding money from the IRS in overseas accounts. With Birkenfeld’s help, his lawyer said, the IRS collected $5 billion in back taxes, fines, and penalties. And UBS itself paid a fine of $780 million to the U.S.
Despite the help he gave to the IRS, the DOJ charged Birkenfeld with tax crimes. He pleaded guilty in 2008 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Days after his release from prison in September 2012, the IRS awarded him $104 million under its whistleblower program.
Last month he asked a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to end his probation or modify its terms so he can leave the U.S.
“The reason is simple,” Birkenfeld’s motion said. “As the end of his sentence approaches, Mr. Birkenfeld, who now resides in New Hampshire, seeks to return to Europe to rebuild his life.”
“It is also abundantly clear,” the filing said, “that Mr. Birkenfeld has been punished severely” by spending 30 months in prison after he helped U.S. authorities. He also served 20 months in pre-sentence home confinement, one month in community confinement, and three months in post-prison home confinement.
The court filing didn’t mention his $104 million whistleblower award.
Birkenfeld’s probation is set to end this year on November 28.
During his probation, he was arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, his court filing said.
Last week, the DOJ said it opposes early termination of Birkenfeld’s probation. The DOJ cited the seriousness of his original offenses and the DUI conviction.
A hearing date hasn’t yet been set for Birkenfeld’s motion.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.