Third CFTC Whistleblower Award Tops $10 Million

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced its third whistleblower award and the largest to date. The CFTC whistleblower will receive more than $10 million for information provided to the U.S. Government about a violation of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC rules.

The reward is the third largest to date in the short history of the SEC and CFTC programs created by the Dodd-Frank Act. The top two awards were both claimed by individuals providing information to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The largest awards so far were in the amounts of $30 million and $14 million.

The CFTC whistleblower program has been previously criticized by the media for the low number of awards announced by its program. Its only two prior awards were both under $500,000.  In an interview with Law360 last year, the head of the office forecast that big payouts would be coming.

As is usual for Dodd-Frank cases, the government released few if any details about the enforcement action and whistleblower reward.  Both the percentage of the reward and the enforcement action at issue are redacted from the public version of the report.  The award determination also provided no insight into the application of the factors from the law by the panel in the determination of the appropriate percentage to be paid.

The CFTC regulates trading in commodities, futures and derivatives.  It receives a smaller amount of tips about misconduct every year than the SEC – about 10% of the tips in a given year.

The award announcement will no doubt be overshadowed today by the stories from journalists about the leak of the Panama Papers.  But it is nevertheless an encouraging sign that the U.S. Government is listening to the information provided it through the Dodd-Frank programs.

To speak to one of our CFTC whistleblower lawyers about a potential whistleblower tip, please call 1-800-590-4116.