RELEASE Number
8098-19

December 19, 2019

CFTC Awards More Than $1 Million to Whistleblower 

— The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced it will award more than $1 million to a whistleblower whose tip helped expose a scheme that violated the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and eventually led to the CFTC filing charges. The individual first provided the information through their employer’s internal compliance program to another regulator and then subsequently provided that information directly to the CFTC.

This award is significant because it recognizes that whistleblowers are eligible to receive an award for 1) being the original source of information the CFTC receives from another regulator, or 2) a tip that leads to evidence of a violation the CFTC ultimately charges, even if the reported conduct itself does not form the basis for those charges.

“Today’s award shows how referrals from other regulators can have a meaningful impact on the Commission’s enforcement program, and lead to whistleblower awards from the CFTC. We are committed to continuing to work with other regulators to maximize the impact and effectiveness of our enforcement and whistleblower programs,” said CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald.

“As the specific facts and circumstances of this matter demonstrate, the whistleblower does not have to identify the exact wrongdoing the CFTC ultimately charges—it is enough for their information to lead CFTC investigators directly to evidence of one or more of the agency’s claims,” said CFTC Whistleblower Office Director Christopher Ehrman. “Here, the whistleblower identified a problem in one area, and our Division of Enforcement used that knowledge and the whistleblower’s subsequent assistance to uncover illegality in another.” 

About the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program

The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program was created under Section 748 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC has awarded approximately $100 million to whistleblowers. CFTC actions associated with those awards have resulted in monetary relief totaling more than $800 million. The CFTC issues awards related not only to the agency’s enforcement actions, but also in connection with actions brought by other foreign or domestic regulators if certain conditions are met. 

The CEA provides confidentiality protections for whistleblowers. Regardless of whether the CFTC grants an award, the CFTC will not disclose any information that could reasonably be expected to reveal a whistleblower’s identity, except in limited circumstances. Consistent with this confidentiality protection, the CFTC will not disclose the name of the enforcement action in which the whistleblower provided information or the exact dollar amount of the award granted. 

Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected.  All whistleblower awards are paid from the CFTC Customer Protection Fund, which was established by Congress, and is 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.

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Customers can report suspicious activities or information, such as possible violations of commodity trading laws, to the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office via a toll-free hotline (866-873-5675) or file a tip or complaint online.

More information about the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program can be found at: https://www.whistleblower.gov/

-CFTC-