The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Whistleblower Program creates a procedure for whistleblowers with knowledge of possible violations of the Commodity Exchange Act to confidentially share their information with the CFTC.
The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program incentivizes whistleblowers to come forward. If the government collects money from an individual or entity, the whistleblower who came forward is entitled to an award of between 10 percent and 30 percent of the total amount recovered.
The CFTC Whistleblower Program was created by Congress as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The program is administered by the CFTC Whistleblower Office.
Some examples of common violations of the Commodity Exchange Act include:
- Market manipulation (spoofing, wash trading, cornering, front running, pump and dump, benchmark manipulation, pinging, etc.);
- Insider trading;
- Misappropriation of funds intended for options, futures, swaps, or other commodities assets through schemes like Ponzi or pyramid schemes;
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations related to commodities trading, including bribery of foreign officials or failure to maintain accurate books and records and sufficient internal controls;
- Failure to register or maintain accurate books, records, and communications;
- Sale or promotion of unregistered commodities options, futures, swaps, or other commodities assets (including unregistered cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens, or stablecoins that qualify as commodities); and
- Fraud, corruption, or failure to keep proper books and records by brokers, commodity pool operators, and more.
How do I start?
Call us at (212) 337-5361. Submit an inquiry on our website. Or email us at email@example.com. We want to hear your story.
The CFTC is responsible for enforcing the Commodity Exchange Act. A whistleblower can submit “original information” (not publicly available or based on independent analysis of public information not previously known to the CFTC) about any possible violation of the CEA.
Whistleblowers submit information to the CFTC on Form TCR (Tip, Complaint, or Referral). The whistleblower can submit the information themselves but have to disclose their identity to the CFTC if they do so. If a whistleblower submits their Form TCR through an attorney, they can remain anonymous if they prefer.
Either way, working with an experienced CFTC whistleblower attorney can make a whistleblower’s case stronger. We help whistleblowers to develop, organize, and present their information in the most effective way possible. We can also help the whistleblower maximize their award if the CFTC recovers money.
No “case” is filed in court like whistleblowers under the False Claims Act. And if the CFTC declines to pursue the matter, unlike the FCA the whistleblower has no right to pursue the matter themselves.
If the CFTC obtains a monetary recovery exceeding $1 million, then a whistleblower who contributed information that led to that recovery can apply for a reward. The award ranges from between 10% and 30% of the CFTC’s recovery. The CFTC has discretion to decide where in that range a whistleblower’s award will fall.
If a whistleblower gets an award, the percentage is not appealable. If an award is denied altogether, that decision can be appealed in federal court.
Even though the law says that whistleblowers remain confidential and defendants may not retaliate against them, sometimes wrongdoers mistreat whistleblowers for raising their concerns, working with a lawyer, or contacting the government.
CFTC whistleblowers are generally protected from retaliation by their employers based on their reporting of CEA violations. Retaliation claims by a CFTC whistleblower can be filed in federal court. Whistleblowers who suffer retaliation may be entitled to reinstatement (if relevant), two times back pay, special damages, and attorney’s fees.