November 22, 2010
Mary L Schapiro
Securities Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549
Dear Chairman Schapiro:
I urge you on tax day to support UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld's official petition for clemency and to release him from prison. I ask that his petition be granted immediately to reverse the radical chilling effect Mr. Birkenfeld's sentence has had on other corporate whistleblowers, especially those in the international banking community that want to report the illegal practices that allow millionaires and billionaires to hide American tax dollars.
The Department of Justice admitted that "but for Mr. Birkenfeld" the entire illegal UBS tax scheme would not have been discovered by the U.S. government.
As a result of Mr. Birkenfeld's whistleblowing:
- UBS AG was forced to pay $780 million in fines and penalties to the U.S.
- The IRS created an amnesty program, under which 14,700 people have come forward and admitted to illegal, secret bank accounts
- Billions of taxpayer dollars have been recovered by the IRS
- UBS shut down the entire $20 billion illegal program that existed to solicit and encourage wealthy Americans to hide their money in secret, offshore accounts
Despite his unprecedented contributions, the Department of Justice chose to prosecute Mr. Birkenfeld. Mr. Birkenfeld received the most severe sentence and has already served more time than anyone connected to the UBS scandal.
President Obama has the opportunity today to send a message that the U.S. will protect and encourage whistleblowers, not destroy them. Tax cheats are still out there, and we need to encourage insiders to come forward with information to help catch them. Bradley Birkenfeld helped the U.S. government recover my tax dollars. I am asking you to support his petition for clemency and release him from prison immediately.
Madeleine Tormey McBride