Public Statements & Remarks

Statement of Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero In Support of the CFTC’s 2023 Annual Report on the Whistleblower Program and Customer Education Initiatives

October 31, 2023

As a former Inspector General who knows firsthand how important whistleblowers are, I wholeheartedly support whistleblowers and the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program, and am very proud of the Program’s outsized results.  Cumulatively, the CFTC has awarded almost $350 million to whistleblowers, with more than $3 billion in enforcement sanctions ordered in cases associated with those awards.  This includes $16 million in awards this year, including more than $15 million to two whistleblowers who provided significant information and assistance that led the CFTC to bring separate successful enforcement cases.[1]

Whistleblowers play a vital role in supporting CFTC investigations related to fraud and other illegality.  The CFTC could not fully protect customers and markets without whistleblowers.  Whistleblowers help identify fraud and other illegality, interpret key evidence, and save considerable Commission resources and time.  The faster we can stop fraud, the more we can protect customers from harm.

Given the great benefit that whistleblowers provide to the CFTC’s enforcement efforts, it is critical for the CFTC to provide both incentives for whistleblowers to come forward, and protections for working with a federal whistleblower program.  The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program recognizes that whistleblowers put themselves at considerable professional and reputational risk in order to help the government.  The Program provides confidential protection to whistleblowers.  The Program also recognizes that incentives in the forms of monetary awards increase the number of whistleblower tips.  This Report confirms that fact, with 1,530 tips this year, the highest of any year. 

The majority of the tips received this year involved crypto—an area that continues to have pervasive fraud and other illegality.  Along with the efforts of the Whistleblower Office in this area, I also recognize the considerable efforts of the CFTC’s Office of Customer Education and Outreach, which has aimed to increase financial literacy, particularly related to crypto scams.  With the rise of crypto, more retail customers have come under the CFTC’s jurisdiction, making even more critical the efforts of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program and the Office of Customer Education and Outreach. 

I am also pleased that the CFTC announced an Environmental Fraud Task Force for which the Whistleblower Program is soliciting whistleblower tips—two initiatives that I have been advocating for.  I look forward to seeing future results from whistleblowers in that, and other areas.

I commend these offices for all of their efforts this year.  

[1] CFTC, CFTC Grants Two Whistleblower Awards Totaling Over $15 Million | CFTC (Sept. 19, 2023) (Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 and 30 percent of monetary sanctions.  All whistleblower awards are paid from the CFTC’s Customer Protection Fund, which was established by Congress, and is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by violators of the Commodity Exchange Act.  No money is taken or withheld from injured customers to fund the program.)