The pending 40 month prison sentence for one of the most important U.S. whistle-blowers ever has been roundly criticized as unfair. Critics say not only does Bradley Birkenfeld deserve reward for making the tax-evasion case against UBS, his former employer, but his harsh treatment is a bad example for those who want to expose fraud.
Now, Birkenfeld’s lawyer is formally doing something about it.
Reuters: [Birkenfeld attorney Dean] Zerbe is pressing for Birkenfeld’s formal recognition under an IRS whistle-blower program and says his client could still collect millions of dollars for his cooperation from the government.
“There is no question that Brad is the most important tax whistle-blower ever,” said Zerbe, who helped write a 2006 law that boosted rewards for those giving key information in tax cases involving evasion of $2 million or more.
We agree. Treat the man properly, and don’t scare future whistle-blowers away. If he really goes to prison in January, President Obama should pardon him immediately.
Lawrence Delevingne, Business Insider.com Oct. 9, 2009