The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Thursday announced multiple whistleblower awards totaling more than $45 million. The awards demonstrate the growing success of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program, in particular the increasing volume and complexity of incoming whistleblower submissions. Just last month, the CFTC announced an award of approximately $30 million to one whistleblower (see CFTC press release 7753-18, July 12, 2018) and the first award was made by the program to a whistleblower living in a foreign country (see CFTC press release 7755-18, July 16, 2018).
James McDonald, Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, stated: “Today’s substantial Whistleblower awards mark another significant step in what has been a transformative year for the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program and the Division of Enforcement. Whistleblowers have added significant value to our enforcement program by enabling the Commission to swiftly identify misconduct and hold wrongdoers accountable. I expect this trend to continue as the Commission continues to receive increasing numbers of high-quality whistleblower tips.”
“The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is committed to creating a level playing field for all market participants, and the Whistleblower Program is helping us achieve this goal,” said CFTC Chairman, J. Christopher Giancarlo. “I hope that today’s awards encourage anyone with knowledge of violations of the Commodity Exchange Act to come forward and become a whistleblower.”
Section 748 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 created the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program. Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected. The CFTC can pay awards not only on CFTC enforcement actions but also related actions brought by foreign futures authorities if certain conditions are met.
The CEA provides confidentiality protections for all whistleblowers. Regardless of whether the CFTC grants an award, the CFTC will not disclose any information which could reasonably be expected to reveal a whistleblower’s identity, except in limited circumstances such as when disclosure is required in connection with a public proceeding. Consistent with this confidentiality requirement, the CFTC will not disclose the name of the enforcement action in which the whistleblower provided information, the award percentage granted to the whistleblower, and the exact dollar amount of the award granted.
“The sheer magnitude of the $45 million in monetary awards announced today demonstrates the game-changing nature of the Whistleblower Program,” said Christopher Ehrman, Director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office. “Whistleblowers are increasingly providing high-quality information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, and the Division of Enforcement is committed to both protecting and rewarding these deserving whistleblowers.”
All whistleblower awards are paid from the CFTC Customer Protection Fund established by Congress and financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by violators of the CEA. No money is taken or withheld from harmed investors to fund the program.