On November 22, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced two whistleblower awards totaling nearly $1 million issued to individuals who voluntarily provided the agency with original information that led to the success of the same enforcement action.
Through the CFTC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers are entitled to monetary awards of 10-30% of the sanctions collected by the government in connection with their disclosure.
According to the CFTC’s award order, both whistleblowers “provided significant information and substantial assistance to [CFTC] staff.” However, the CFTC allocated a higher award percentage to the first of two whistleblowers “because of the key role that [the whistleblower’s] information played in causing the Division to open the investigation that led to the Covered Action and focusing the Division’s efforts during the investigation’s earliest stages.” While the second whistleblower’s information was valuable, their disclosure was made when the investigation was ongoing and was thus deemed by the CFTC to be less significant.
“It is not always the case that the first tipster gets a higher award, but in this case, where both claimants significantly contributed to the action, it was the first claimant’s information that played a key role in leading the CFTC to open an investigation,” said CFTC Whistleblower Office Director Christopher Ehrman. “This matter demonstrates that whistleblowers can receive an award for their role in causing the CFTC to open an investigation or for significantly contributing to an already open investigation, or both.”
On October 21, the CFTC issued a $200 million whistleblower award, the largest single award ever granted under the Dodd-Frank Act. Overall, since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC has granted whistleblower awards amounting to approximately $300 million.
“The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program already made history with the announcement of the largest-ever Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower award last month,” said CFTC Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle. “The CFTC will continue to reward deserving whistleblowers who help the CFTC root out misconduct.”