The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) whistleblower program has seen a surge of activity in the past few months, and the agency expects to pay whistleblower awards of $45.5 million.
Speaking at a recent conference in Washington D.C., CFTC Whistleblower Office director Christopher Ehrman said “This year for us is going to be huge.”
“As of Sept. 30, 2017, the Commission has determined that it is probable that it will make whistleblower awards of approximately $45.5 million as a result of valid whistleblower claims on Commission-imposed sanctions that have already been collected,” an independent auditor’s report commissioned by the CFTC Office of Inspector General stated on Oct. 27, according to Forbes.
Payouts of $45.5 million would be a record for the CFTC since its whistleblower program was created under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. In fact, the figure 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.
However, annual increases in reports submitted to the CFTC whistleblower program indicate that more and more people are becoming familiar with it and its potential benefits.
In May, the CFTC announced it that its board unanimously 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.
Additionally, the new measures also give the CFTC 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.
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.”
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