What is the CFTC?
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) is an independent government agency that regulates US futures and options markets. The CFTC’s Division of Enforcement investigates violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and other CFTC regulations, including fraud, market manipulation, disruptive trading practices, and trade practice violations.
The Division of Enforcement conducts these investigations based on information it receives from other CFTC divisions, state, federal, and international authorities, and tips and complaints submitted to the Commission by members of the public.
What is the CFTC Whistleblower Program?
The CFTC Whistleblower Program was created by the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. The Dodd-Frank Act amended Section 23 of the CEA and created incentives and protections for whistleblowers. The CFTC subsequently adopted additional rules and regulations that established requirements for the CFTC Whistleblower Program and procedures for obtaining a whistleblower award.
The CFTC pays all whistleblower awards from the CFTC Consumer Protection Fund, a fund established by Congress financed entirely by sanctions paid by CEA violators to the CFTC. Since CFTC issued its first award in 2014 through the end of 2018, the CFTC has collected more than $675 million in sanctions from CEA violators and has awarded more than $85 million to whistleblowers.
Who Can Be a CFTC Whistleblower?
Corporate officers, insiders, traders, market observers, investors, or fraud victims can send the CFTC a Tip, Complaint, or Referral detailing a potential violation of the CEA. Companies and other entities are not eligible to be whistleblowers.
Who is Eligible to Receive CFTC Whistleblower Awards?
Filing a Tip, Complaint, or Referral does not automatically entitle an individual to an award. To be eligible for a whistleblower award, a whistleblower must “voluntarily” provide the CFTC with “original information” about a CEA violation that leads the CFTC to bring a successful enforcement action that results in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million.
If the Commission or another governmental authority requests information from an individual before that individual sends it to the CFTC through a Tip, Complaint, or Referral, the individual is not eligible for a whistleblower award because he/she has not “voluntarily” provided the information.
If the Commission already knows the information that the whistleblower submits through their Tip, Complaint, or Referral from another source, then the individual is not an “original source” of that information and is not eligible for an award. However, if the whistleblower also provides new information beyond what the Commission already knows, the individual may be considered an “original source” of the new information.
Do You Have to Report Violations Internally to Be Eligible for an Award?
No. You may report information to your employer through its internal process before reporting the information to the CFTC, but it is not required. However, reporting internally may increase the percentage of an individual’s whistleblower award.
What Protections Does the CFTC Provide to Whistleblowers?
The Commission is committed to protecting the identities of whistleblowers by treating the identities of sources throughout its investigation as non-public and confidential. The Dodd-Frank Act also prohibits employers from retaliating against whistleblowers or impeding their communication with the Commission about violations of the CEA.
Contact Us to Learn More
Do you need a Whistleblower Lawyer or want to know more information about your rights under the CFTC Whistleblower Program?
There are three easy ways to contact our firm for a free, confidential evaluation with one of our whistleblower attorneys:
- Fill out the contact form on this page.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call (800) 424-6690
Your submission will be reviewed by a Berger Montague qui tam attorney and remain confidential.