On October 12, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued an $18 million whistleblower award to an individual who voluntarily provided original information and further assistance which led to successful enforcement actions by both the CFTC and another agency.
The CFTC Whistleblower Program offers monetary awards to qualified individuals. CFTC whistleblowers are entitled to monetary awards of 10-30% of the funds collected in the CFTC enforcement action connected with their disclosure. The CFTC also pays out related action awards for actions taken by other agencies based upon the whistleblower’s disclosure to the CFTC.
According to the CFTC, the whistleblower “provided assistance to the Division of Enforcement’s (DOE) staff that was significant in amount and quality” and their “communications with the other agency led to a related action and were crucial to its resolution.”
“This whistleblower contributed critical information and assistance to two agencies’ investigations,” said Whistleblower Office Acting Director Christina McGlosson. “With this award, our whistleblower program continues to incentivize whistleblowers to report directly to the CFTC with actionable information.”
The award order notes that the CFTC decided that the whistleblower “voluntarily” provided the information because the whistleblower “brought up violations by certain of the respondents in the CFTC Orders during an interview with staff of the Commission’s Division of Enforcement regarding an entity that is not among the Respondents.”
In determining the exact percentage to award the whistleblower, the CFTC weighed the fact that there was significant law enforcement interest in whistleblower’s information because it concerned violations which were of great “danger to market participants.”
“This award appropriately rewards a whistleblower who gave valuable information during multiple contacts with DOE staff,” said Ian McGinley, Director of the Division of Enforcement. “The CFTC’s enforcement efforts benefit greatly from whistleblowers like this one, who provide and interpret key evidence and thereby conserve CFTC resources.”
Since the CFTC Whistleblower Program was established in 2010, whistleblower tips have allowed the CFTC to recover over $3 billion from fraudsters. The program has in turn paid out over $365 million in whistleblower awards.
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.