Today, Ronald Birkenfeld, father of UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, made a personal Thanksgiving Day appeal to President Barack Obama for his son to be released from prison.
In his letter to the President Mr. Birkenfeld stated, "His separation from his loved ones is extremely painful to our family, especially when we know that his sentence is harsher than that of any of the thousands of wrongdoers." Ronald Birkenfeld sadly noted that "the thousands of US citizens with offshore accounts who were granted amnesty will be sitting at home with their families," while his son "who was solely responsible for recovering billions of dollars for American taxpayers" is "sitting alone in a cold cell away from those who love and appreciate him."
The National Whistleblower Center is supporting Bradley Birkenfeld’s clemency petition and encourages every American to take a minute out of their day on Thanksgiving to send a letter to President Obama asking him to return Mr. Birkenfeld to his family in time for Christmas.
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, issued the following statement: "Given Bradley Birkenfeld’s contribution to the public interest, it is a national disgrace that he must spend Thanksgiving in prison. Birkenfeld was responsible for taxpayers recovering $780 million in fines paid by UBS bank. His disclosures lead to over 15,000 Americans turning themselves in under the IRS amnesty program. These tax evaders escaped prison, but paid the U.S. taxpayers back billions of dollars. Birkenfeld, who voluntarily returned to the United States to blow the whistle, is the only UBS banker to be convicted of a crime and he has already served more time in prison than all of the 19,000 millionaires and billionaires who illegally hide their money combined."