Whistleblower & Qui Tam Blog

October 2019

CFTC Whistleblower Awarded $7 Million Despite Partially Inaccurate Allegations

Last week, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or Commission) announced a CFTC whistleblower award of approximately $7 million. The whistleblower’s report, while not wholly accurate, led to the discovery of violations of Commodity Exchange Act violations.

The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program rewards those who provide the CFTC with original information on violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. If the information leads to successful enforcement action in sanctions exceeding $1 million, the whistleblower is eligible for a monetary award of 10 to 30 percent of the penalty collected. 

In determining the percentage the whistleblower would receive, the Commission explained how a whistleblower who provides useful but limited assistance is eligible to receive 10% of the sanctions paid by the wrongdoer. The Commission noted the whistleblower in this case “did not provide particularly significant information to the Commission, and the charges the Commission brought were ultimately different from the claimant’s allegations.” Despite the limited assistance, the Commission determined that the whistleblower still deserved the award. 

CFTC Whistleblower Office Director Christopher Ehrman said the following about the whistleblower award: 

“This award shows that, in some cases, whistleblowers may provide information about wrongdoing that is not completely accurate, but if any information they provide leads us to open an investigation resulting in a successful enforcement action, we will reward them accordingly.”

The CFTC whistleblower program, established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, has since paid out more than $90 million in awards. 

A key component to the success of the CFTC whistleblower program is that it provides whistleblowers with confidentiality protections regardless of whether the CFTC ultimately issues awards or proceeds with a case. 

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About the Whistleblower Blog

The Whistleblower Blog is an editorially independent news and information source, sponsored by a pro bono public service project by Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, LLP. The blog highlights important news, legal developments and policy issues critical to whistleblowers and their advocates, both in the United States and internationally. The contributors to this blog are respected leaders in their fields, including the authors of key whistleblower law books, current and former legal professors, spokespersons before Congressional committees and other public bodies, directors of non-profit whistleblower advocacy groups, and prominent attorneys specializing in representing/assisting whistleblowers in the United States and throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.