CFTC Whistleblower Office Issues First Whistleblower Award

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) announced earlier this week that it had issued its first award pursuant to the agency’s whistleblower program, which was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  The program rewards whistleblowers for providing the government information regarding illegal activity in the trading of a wide range of commodities and on the currencies exchanges.  A whistleblower who voluntarily provides original information regarding violations that lead to a monetary recovery of over $1 million by the government are entitled to between 10 and 30 percent of that recovery.

The CFTC’s whistleblower program is a sister program to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) whistleblower program, which was also created by the Dodd-Frank Act.  While it also took a few years for tips to begin to come to fruition in the SEC whistleblower program, four whistleblowers received awards from the SEC last year, including one whistleblower who received $14 million for the information the individual provided to the agency.  The number of whistleblower awards is expected to grow in 2014, as information provided to whistleblowers leads to enforcement actions which then lead to monetary recoveries.

According to the CFTC, the whistleblower will receive approximately $240,000 as a reward for the information the individual provided to the CFTC.  CFTC Acting Chairman Mark Wetjen stated, “I am pleased to announce this first award which illustrates that the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program is a valuable resource for the American public. Information received under the Whistleblower Program helps the agency better protect market participants and the public through successful enforcement actions.”  Christopher Ehrman, the Director of the Whistleblower Office, added that the agency’s hope is “this award will send the strong message that the CFTC will pay for information that helps us do our jobs.”