CFTC Makes Another Whistleblower Award
On Monday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced a whistleblower award of roughly $1.5 million. It is the latest in a string of whistleblower awards from an agency that has made it very clear that after a slow start in implementing its whistleblower program it is finally open for whistleblower business. CFTC Enforcement Director James McDonald could not have been more direct on this point: “Today’s award stands as one in a growing line of whistleblower awards that show the Commission’s continued commitment to the program. Whistleblowers have become an integral part of our enforcement efforts, and I expect that trend to continue going forward.”
Like the $2 million award it made in March, this new award is based on the whistleblower’s information that led to both a CFTC recovery and a recovery from a related action brought by another federal regulator. What further distinguishes this award is CFTC’s recognition that the whistleblower first reported their concerns internally within the company before filing a whistleblower complaint with the agency. Indeed, CFTC apparently upped the award because of this report-to-the-company-first approach. As CFTC Whistleblower Chief Chris Ehrman explained:
While there is no requirement that a whistleblower report internally before approaching the Commission, today’s award demonstrates that the Commission may pay enhanced awards to those that do – that is one of the positive factors set out in our rules for the Commission to consider in making its award determination.
CFTC’s Whistleblower Program was created under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Under the program, whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of any government recovery by the CFTC or other federal agencies through related enforcement proceedings. Since issuing its first award in 2014, CFTC has awarded more than $85 million to whistleblowers. This is a far cry from the hundreds of millions of dollars the SEC has awarded to whistleblowers under its parallel whistleblower program. Nonetheless, the CFTC is making strides and making it clear that it wants to hear from whistleblowers.
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