On September 19, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued two whistleblower awards totaling $15 million. The awards, which stem from separate enforcement actions, were granted to individuals who voluntarily provided the CFTC with original information about commodities law violations.
According to the CFTC, “[b]ecause the whistleblowers immediately provided reliable information, the CFTC opened the respective investigations shortly after each whistleblower submitted a Form TCR.”
The agency further notes that one of the whistleblowers “provided a high degree of additional support to DOE staff; including interpreting key evidence for staff; facilitating the appearance of another witness to corroborate the violations; and providing a declaration in support of the matter.”
The other whistleblower “interpreted key evidence and helped the Division of Enforcement (DOE) staff identify new and productive lines of inquiry” and “provided information that conserved CFTC resources,” according to the agency’s press release.
“These whistleblowers provided sustained cooperation and support, which helped catch more misconduct and conserve CFTC resources,” said Whistleblower Office Acting Director Christina McGlosson. “Today’s awards show how whistleblowers can act as force multipliers for the CFTC’s enforcement efforts.”
Through the CFTC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide original information that leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of the funds collected by the CFTC in the enforcement action.
The whistleblower program has allowed the CFTC to recover over $3 billion from fraudsters and the agency has correspondingly awarded almost $350 million to whistleblowers. Furthermore, according to the CFTC, “roughly 30 percent of all CFTC enforcement investigations stem from whistleblowers.”
“These awards illustrate the success of our whistleblower program,” said Ian McGinley, Director of the Division of Enforcement. “The program incentivizes whistleblowers like these two to come forward with accurate information, including evidence of ongoing misconduct, to help protect market participants and hold wrongdoers accountable.”
The CFTC Whistleblower Program is currently in danger of being a victim of its own success, as a funding crisis threatens to undermine the program. A bipartisan bill introduced in July provides a long-term fix to the funding issue undermining the CFTC Whistleblower Program. The CFTC Whistleblower Fund Improvement Act is widely supported by whistleblower advocates.