On September 29, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced an award of approximately $250,000 to a whistleblower. The whistleblower provided the CFTC with significant information that led to an investigation, and the whistleblower subsequently aided the CFTC throughout the investigation. However, the whistleblower did not promptly report the violations, and the reward was thus reduced.
“This whistleblower’s information was specific and significant enough to spawn multiple enforcement actions,” said Whistleblower Office Director Christopher Ehrman.
“Time is of the essence when it comes to reporting violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and the CFTC’s rules and regulations,” added Director of Enforcement James McDonald. “A delay in reporting can result in further harm to investors, a delay to the start of a CFTC investigation, and undermines the health of our markets.”
Qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide original information that leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to monetary awards for 10-30% of the money recouped by the government. Since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC Whistleblower Program has awarded approximately $120 million to whistleblowers, and enforcement actions associated with these awards have led to nearly $950 million in monetary relief. Whistleblower awards are paid from the CFTC Customer Protection Fund, which is financed through monetary sanctions paid by violators of the Commodity Exchange Act.
The CFTC Whistleblower Program was established in 2010 with the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC Whistleblower Program provides anti-retaliation protections to whistleblowers. These include anonymity. Thus, the CFTC does not reveal any information that may disclose a whistleblower’s identity. Other anti-retaliation provisions allow whistleblowers to file discrimination cases in federal court within two years of the adverse retaliatory action. Whistleblowers who win discrimination cases are entitled to reinstatement, back pay, special damages, and attorney fees.