Bradley Birkenfeld, a convicted criminal who once smuggled and sold diamonds, was awarded $104 million from the U.S. government for exposing secrets about the Swiss bank UBS AG, which is his former employer.
In 2009, UBS was caught helping 17,000 US clients hide $20 billion in their Swiss accounts, reports Reuters.
With Birkenfeld’s information, UBS was caught and required to pay $780 million in fines, penalties, interest and restitution.
The government is increasingly relying on citizens to report any misconduct they may have noticed in their workplaces or committed by friends or family.
IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge told Reuters: “The IRS believes that the whistleblower statue provides a valuable tool to combat tax non-compliance, and this award reflects our commitment to the law.”
Whistleblowers are guaranteed an award if the company or individual owes at least $2 million in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties.