Release Number 8323-20

CFTC Division of Enforcement Issues Annual Report

Agency Ordered Over $1.3 Billion in Monetary Relief and Brought Record Number of Actions in FY 2020

December 01, 2020

—The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement today issued its annual report for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020). The report catalogues the agency’s efforts to protect the public and preserve market integrity over that period, which yielded historic results despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report finds that CFTC enforcement actions during FY 2020 resulted in $1,327,869,760 in ordered monetary relief, the fourth highest total on record and the third straight year-over-year increase. Additional milestones featured in the report include a record number of enforcement actions brought (113), the largest spoofing penalties ever assessed, and the most retail fraud actions brought in a fiscal year (56).

“When I first became Chairman, one of the strategic goals I set was to be tough on those who break the rules—and we have done just that,” said CFTC Chairman and Chief Executive Heath P. Tarbert. “A strong enforcement program at the CFTC is critical to the proper functioning of our derivatives markets and the health of the American economy overall. Without integrity, these markets—markets that inform the price of everything from food to gasoline to interest rates on home mortgages—simply would not work.

“Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of the Division of Enforcement, the CFTC had a historically productive year,” Chairman Tarbert continued. “I am immensely proud of their accomplishments as well as their perseverance during this pandemic—their efforts have made a real difference, stopping fraud when Americans were especially vulnerable. I also wish to again extend my gratitude and thanks to former Director James McDonald for his exemplary leadership during this unprecedented year.”

“This record-breaking year demonstrates the continued growth of the CFTC’s enforcement program as well as the commitment and resolve of the staff. To maintain this historical level of enforcement activity amid a global pandemic says everything you need to know about the hard-working professionals in the Division of Enforcement,” added Division of Enforcement Acting Director Vince McGonagle. “This is also a team that continues to hone its craft—investing in advances in our data analytics capabilities, expanding our federal, state, local and international parallel efforts, and providing more clarity and transparency to market participants. I look forward to working with our team in their continuing and unwavering commitment to ensuring the integrity of the markets and to protecting customers and market participants by diligently pursuing those who violate the law.”

The FY 2020 report details the enforcement program’s accomplishments, including quantitative and qualitative measures such as cases filed, relief obtained, and trends among enforcement actions.

Highlights from the Division of Enforcement Annual Report

  • The most enforcement actions filed in CFTC history (113)—an increase over the previous high (102) and significantly higher than the 30-year average (58).
  • A total of $1,327,869,760 in monetary relief ordered—the fourth highest total in CFTC history, the third straight year-over-year increase, and the second straight year in excess of $1 billion.
  • The largest monetary relief ordered in CFTC history ($920 million), which included the highest restitution ($311,737,008), disgorgement ($172,034,790) and civil monetary penalty ($436,431,811) amounts in a spoofing case.
  • The most retail fraud actions (56) in a single fiscal year in CFTC history, including a record number of actions involving digital assets (7) and a total of 28 actions since the COVID-19 national emergency was declared on March 13, 2020.
  • A total of 16 actions filed in parallel with federal criminal authorities, raising the three-year total of such actions to 46—nearly double the prior seven fiscal years (27).
  • Filed a joint enforcement action with 30 state regulators—the most partners in a single case in CFTC history.
  • Issued the first civil monetary penalty guidance since the Commission published its guidelines in 1994 and the first guidance regarding evaluation of compliance programs in connection with enforcement matters.

The Division of Enforcement began publishing an annual report in FY 2018. The first report outlined four priorities that continue to guide the division’s enforcement efforts today: (i) preserve market integrity; (ii) protect customers; (iii) promote individual accountability; and (iv) increase coordination with other regulators and criminal authorities.

The full FY 2020 report is available here.