It can pay to share with the IRS

In Baltimore, infamously, “snitches get stitches.”

But in business and law, snitches get riches.  A whistleblower banker at UBS who gave the IRS information about how the bank helped wealthy Americans hide assets was given a taste of the bounty. If you want to call $104 million a taste, that is. [CNNMoney]

Bradley Birkenfeld’s tips helped pave the way for a 2009 settlementbetween the U.S. government and UBS (UBS) under which the bank agreed to pay $780 million in penalties and turn over the account information of thousands of U.S. clients.

Over 35,000 Americans have since participated in amnesty programs to repatriate their offshore accounts, netting the government over $5 billion in back taxes, fines and penalties, Birkenfeld’s lawyers said in a statement Tuesday.

The IRS confirmed Birkenfeld’s reward but declined to comment in detail about the case.

The award is believed to be the first big award given by the IRS Whistleblower Office, which started in 2007.

Not that Birkenfeld hasn’t paid for it. He was sent to prison for 3 1/3 years for his participation in UBS’s program, a story portrayed in this CBS 60 Minutes piece.

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