An individual whistleblower who provided information about fraud to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) was just awarded more than $2 million for information that led to both a CFTC action and a related action brought by another federal agency. The whistleblower’s contribution included significant assistance in analyzing complex market data.
Two takeaways from this award are that an individual does not have to be an insider to receive a whistleblower award, and the CFTC can pay awards for recoveries in actions brought by other federal regulators, based on the whistleblower’s information and analysis.
The CFTC Whistleblower Program
The Whistleblower Program for the CFTC was created in 2010. The first award was made in 2014 and total awards through 2018 have exceeded $85 million. CFTC states that more than $675 million has been ordered as sanctions to violators based on the tips provided by those whistleblowers. The whistleblower awards are financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by persons or entities found to have violated the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”). No money paid to the whistleblower comes from investors who were harmed by the CEA violations.
Whistleblowers Play a Key Role in Enforcement of the Commodity Exchange Act
The Commission has made clear that it relies on the public as an important source of information in carrying out its enforcement of the CEA. Whistleblowers are eligible to receive up to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected on account of their tips or assistance. Unlike under the Federal False Claims Act, there is full confidentiality for the whistleblower, except in unusual circumstances. Consistent with its confidentiality policy, the CFTC does not disclose the name of the enforcement action or the exact dollar amount of the award granted to the whistleblower. There are also protections against retaliation, if applicable.
What Should You Do If You Observe Likely Violations of the CEA?
You can report violations or any other suspicious activities by filing the proper form with the CFTC Division of Enforcement. Experienced attorneys at Berger Montague can assist you in analyzing the situation you have observed and help determine if there is cause to report the misconduct. Our attorneys will also ensure that you follow the proper procedures to protect yourself and your possible entitlement to a whistleblower award. Failure to take the right steps can cause you to forfeit any entitlement to an award. These can often be complex cases, so working with experienced counsel is a huge advantage.
Contact Us to Learn More
Do you need a Whistleblower Lawyer or want to know more information about Qui Tam Law and your rights under the False Claims Act?
There are three easy ways to contact our firm for a free, confidential evaluation with one of our whistleblower attorneys:
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