The Largest Tax Reward in History

Our Client Received One of the Largest Tax Whistleblower Reward in World History of $104 Million

Bradley Birkenfeld broke the back of Swiss bank secrecy. He was the first Swiss banker to file a case under the IRS whistleblower law. The results of this whistleblower case was unprecedented. UBS bank (at the time the largest bank in the world) had to pay a fine of $780 million. They also had to close all known U.S. accounts, and for the first time in history, the bank turned over the names of 4450 U.S. taxpayers for prosecution in the United States. Mr. Birkenfeld obtained the largest ever individual qui tam whistleblower award in history, $104 million.
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Other Notable KKC Cases

Co-counsel on amicus brief submitted on behalf of the American Medical Association in U.S. v. Phillip Morris in support of holding tobacco companies liable under RICO. Appeals court upheld this historic use of RICO to find fraudsters accountable.
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Represented the Village Voice in establishing the national precedent for allowing journalists to attend pretrial depositions in cases impacting the public interest over the objection of the deponent.

This case was another early pioneering case challenging the legality of restrictive non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that corporations widely used to silence whistleblowers. The firm’s challenge to restrictive NDA commenced in 1988. By 1995 we have convinced the Labor Department that such agreements needed to be fully struck-down, leaving the whistleblower free to continue to pursue his or her retaliation case and disclose safety concerns to the government. The Labor Department joined with the Kohn firm in arguing against the legality of settlement agreements with restrictive NDAs. The Fourth Circuit sided with the whistleblower.
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Represented amicus curiae in a case filed to the Supreme Court on behalf of a qui tam whistleblower. Justices unanimously ruled in favor of whistleblowers, finding that a ten-year statute of limitations applicable to whistleblower-initiated claims when under specific conditions. This decision was a significant victory for whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.

Between 2008 and 2012, the partners at KKC had worked extensively with Congress to improve protections for federal employee whistleblowers. In 2012, those efforts were successful, and Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). However, the issue of whether or not the WPEA protections were retroactive was critical to the thousands of pending cases filed before its passage. Representing the National Whistleblower Center as an Amicus Curiae before the MSPB, the firm argued that the provisions of the WPEA broadly defining the scope of a protected whistleblower disclosure should be given retroactive effect as a “clarifying amendment” to existing law. The MSPB agreed with this theory and applied the provisions of the WPEA, expanding the scope of protected disclosures (along with other vital reforms), to all pending cases.