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June 24, 2014 Commodities Futures Trading Fraud

Commodity Futures Trading Commission and SEC Issue Whistleblower Rewards; Withhold Details

While healthcare fraud remains a top priority for the Department of Justice and other governmental agencies, several other areas of fraud are also on the rise – including misconduct against the Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.  All of these agencies recently implemented whistleblower regulations which were drafted to closely mirror the provisions of the federal False Claims Act.

Like the FCA, these other agencies offer whistleblowers a percentage reward if the cause of action is successful. However, unlike the Department of Justice, officials within the SEC and CTFC are often criticized for the lack of transparency in their whistleblower programs, manifested by a refusal to comment on two large whistleblower rewards handed out just last month.

CFTC Offers Anonymous Whistleblower $240,000

According to its May 20th press release, the CFTC proudly offered its first reward under its whistleblower program, which was commenced as part of the 2010 Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform legislation. The whistleblower, set to receive $240,000 for his or her role in exposing fraud within the commodities futures trading market, was not identified by name in an attempt to protect and preserve his or her identity.

The CFTC’s Director of Enforcement remarked: “Here, the whistleblower provided specific, timely, and credible information that led to the Commission bringing important enforcement actions. The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program is attracting high-quality tips and cooperation we might not otherwise receive and is already having an impact on the Commission’s enforcement mission.”

The CFTC whistleblower rules allow for a 10 to 30 percent reward for any successful action wherein the government recoups $1 million or more.

Commodities futures trading is an investment industry involving the trading of agricultural “futures contracts,” or those contracts that have not come to fruition as of the time of the trade.

SEC Offers $875,000 Reward to Two Whistleblowers

In a similar story involving fraud within the securities exchange markets, the SEC has offered two anonymous whistleblowers $875,000 for their willingness to come forward and report fraud. SEC rules generally prohibit the public disclosure of whistleblowers’ identities, and the SEC gave very few details on the surrounding circumstances of its most recent reward. In its somewhat nebulous announcement, the chief of the SEC’s whistleblower office remarked, “These whistleblowers provided original information and assistance that enabled us to investigate and bring a successful enforcement action in a complex area of the securities market….Whistleblowers who report their concerns to the SEC perform a great service to investors and help us combat fraud.”

Under SEC whistleblower rules, successful plaintiffs can receive up to 30 percent of the total recovery. SEC officials revealed the whistleblowers in this case received the maximum amount allowed by law.

This is the SEC’s first whistleblower reward this year, and its eighth overall since the program was implemented.

Contact a Whistleblower Attorney Today

Whistleblower lawsuits are not limited to healthcare or Medicare fraud. In fact, several government agencies maintain qui tam laws to encourage those with original information of fraud to come forward and report their observations.

If you are aware of fraud in the securities industry or have knowledge of false claims made to the federal or state government, contact Berger Montague today.