We advise all potential whistleblowers to hire an attorney familiar with the CFTC whistleblower rules to represent them throughout the process. Reporting misconduct can involve complex legal issues regarding securities, employment and whistleblower law. Your attorney will:
1. Prepare Your Submission.
The CFTC has limited resources to investigate submissions from whistleblowers. A detailed submission clearly identifying the violation of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations and the evidence the whistleblower possesses helps them evaluate and allocate resources. In an article published on Law360.com, the Director of the CFTC Whistleblower Office, Vincente Martinez, specifically identified the submission as one area where a whistleblower attorney can add value.
Eric L. Young and McEldrew Young have successfully represented individuals reporting misconduct to other government regulatory bodies and are experienced at presenting evidence provided by whistleblowers to the government. Eric can assist you with preparing a compelling Form TCR.
2. Maintain Your Anonymity.
The CFTC treats submissions as confidential but there are limited circumstances where the whistleblower’s identity can be revealed. An individual can take the additional step of dealing with the CFTC anonymously if they wish. An attorney can play an important role in protecting your identity from the CFTC during the investigation.
An attorney can act as an intermediary between the whistleblower and the CFTC. Although individuals can submit the original whistleblower tip anonymously, the CFTC prefers to have a method to contact the whistleblower in case it needs additional information. An attorney can serve as the point of contact for the government investigation if the whistleblower does not wish to provide a phone number or email address. An attorney can also evaluate your submission to identify material which, if provided to the company, might lead to your identification as the whistleblower.
If a whistleblower wishes to submit an anonymous award claim form, they must be represented by legal counsel. The rules require an attorney prepare and submit a duplicate copy of Form WB-APP to submit to the CFTC without the whistleblower’s contact information and signature.
Eric and McEldrew Young understand the importance of maintaining your confidentiality. Eric represented the first IRS tax whistleblower to receive a reward under the new IRS whistleblower program and protected his clients anonymity throughout the process. The identity of the whistleblower has still not been revealed to the public or the company.
3. Monitor Notices of Covered Actions.
The CFTC will not notify whistleblowers individually when their investigation and enforcement results in the opportunity for a whistleblower reward. They may not even contact you as part of their investigation. They simply post a notice online and email it to a subscriber list. It may take years for an investigation and enforcement action to proceed through the system to a successful resolution. Your legal counsel will ensure that you do not miss the 90 day window to file Form WB-APP.
4. Provide Advice Regarding the Decision to Become a Whistleblower.
The decision to become a whistleblower and report your concerns can be a difficult one, emotionally and financially. Eric L. Young and McEldrew Young have worked with numerous whistleblowers to determine the appropriate course of conduct to proceed given their specific situation.
You may wish to report your concerns internally within your company prior to contacting the government. Many whistleblowers choose to start by internal reporting. However, the CFTC does not require an individual to report violations internally in order to qualify for a reward unless the employee is one of certain enumerated professionals, such as an officer, director, compliance or internal audit professional, who may face additional requirements. Moreover, if you haven’t filed Form TCR, you may not be entitled to the CFTC’s anti-retaliation protections.
If you decide to report externally to a government agency, either initially or after internal reporting, other issues arise. Information provided to the authorities may raise issues with employment agreements that you have signed. Some individuals who report misconduct also face retaliation by their employer even if they are protected by whistleblower laws.
Eric and McEldrew Young can help you decide whether to report your suspected misconduct and represent you throughout the process if you decide to proceed. Contact us or call 1-800-590-4116 for a free case evaluation.