The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) whistleblower program has seen a surge of activity in the past few months. The agency, according to reports, paid whistleblower awards of $45.5 million last year. CFTC Whistleblower Office director Christopher Ehrman confirmed that 2017 was a record year. The whistleblower awards were the result of valid whistleblower claims. An independent auditor’s report commissioned by the CFTC Office of Inspector General confirmed the payments.
The payouts of $45.5 million were a record for the CFTC since its whistleblower program was created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. The amount is more than four times the total amount the CFTC has paid to informants since its whistleblower program launched. According to Forbes, the CFTC’s whistleblower program still lags behind the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower program, which was also created by Dodd-Frank to combat the rampant Wall Street fraud that dragged the U.S. into an economic crisis in 2008.
Annual increases in reports submitted to the CFTC whistleblower program indicate that more and more people are becoming familiar with the program and its potential benefits.
The CFTC’s board has approved measures to make it less risky for “would-be whistleblowers” to call out fraud and other wrongdoing. These measures prohibit employers from retaliating against whistleblowers and allow employees to sue their employer for whistleblower-related retaliation.
The CFTC has been given authority to take enforcement action against any employer that retaliates against its employees for whistleblowing activity. Like the SEC’s whistleblower program, the CFTC does not disclose any information about a case that could reveal a whistleblower’s identity. As we have reported, the CFTC pays monetary awards to whistleblowers ranging from 10 to 30 percent of the total sanctions when those sanctions top $1 million.
According to Forbes, some of the whistleblower reports the CFTC received last year related to “virtual currency trading, spoofing, market manipulation, false reporting, misrepresentations to customers regarding the handling of their accounts, fraud involving foreign currency exchanges, Ponzi schemes and other off-exchange investment scams involving futures.” The CFTC whistleblower program is critically important to U.S. taxpayers and consumers generally. Hopefully, any attempt to weaken the program by the Trump Administration will be rejected by Congress.
Sources: CFTC and Forbes