Offshore Alert Conference: Protecting Whistleblowers from Criminal and Civil Liability

Of interest to whistleblowers reporting fraud under the False Claims Act, the IRS Whistleblower Program, or the brand new SEC Whistleblower and CFTC Whistleblower Programs is an upcoming presentation, “Avoiding the Mistakes of the UBS/Birkenfeld Case: Protecting Whistleblowers from Criminal and Civil Liability.”

This discussion is part of a fascinating gathering this April in South Beach–the OffshoreAlert Conference. As the brochure promises:

Where else could tax collectors mingle with tax minimizers, asset tracers with asset protectors, regulators with the regulated, whistleblowers with their former employers and crooks with prosecutors?

How to protect whistleblowers from criminal and civil liability was a topic my panel discussed at the 2010 IRS Whistleblower Boot Camp in Washington. Because we had the IRS Chief Counsel’s Office participating in that discussion, we were unable to discuss directly what went wrong for Birkenfeld as he brought important information about tax evasion to the attention of the IRS, but ended up serving a prison sentence of 40 months. (We have written previously about Birkenfeld’s errors revealed in the court record.)

At the OffshoreAlert Conference discussion this year, I will moderate the panel discussion about what can be done to protect whistleblowers from criminal and civil exposure. Joining me are former Justice Department official and former General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Joe D. Whitley; former prosecutor and now whistleblower attorney Marc Raspanti; and federal and international tax attorney Richard Rubin.

The program description is reprinted below:

Avoiding the Mistakes of the UBS/Birkenfeld Case: Protecting Whistleblowers from Criminal and Civil Liability

Time: 1:15 PM – 2:30 PM
Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2010
Keywords: Money Laundering & Compliance
“Swiss banker turned whistleblower ended up with a prison sentence” read one headline. How did UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld end up being prosecuted for a felony, and serving a forty-month prison sentence–even though the IRS found his information essential to its $780 million settlement with UBS? How can other whistleblowers minimize their risks of facing criminal and civil liability when they report substantial financial violations?

This panel of a former senior U.S. Department of Justice official, other former criminal prosecutors, and an international tax attorney will discuss what the UBS whistleblower apparently did to subject himself to criminal prosecution-and the steps a whistleblower must take to avoid that fate. The whistleblower lawyers on the panel will discuss the “ground rules” for minimizing the risks to whistleblowers of criminal and civil liability, both in the United States and other countries.

Michael A. Sullivan, Whistleblower Lawyer, Finch McCranie (Atlanta)

Marc S. Raspanti, Whistleblower Lawyer and Former Prosecutor, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP (Philadelphia)

Richard R. Rubin, Federal and International Tax Attorney, Rubin Law (Johannesburg/Atlanta)

Joe D. Whitley, former U.S. Acting Associate Attorney General and former General Counsel of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Washington, D.C. & Atlanta)