A central element of the CFTC Whistleblower Program is that it offers monetary rewards to qualified whistleblowers. Whistleblower rewards have proven to effectively incentivize whistleblowing and to help spread public awareness of whistleblower programs.
CFTC whistleblowers are entitled to an award when they voluntarily provide information that leads to a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million. Awards are for 10-30% of the funds collected by the government in the action.
Whistleblower must submit an award application in order to receive an award. The CFTC posts a Notice of Covered Action (NCA) for every enforcement action which resulted in over $1 million in sanctions. A whistleblower has 90 days from when a NCA is posted to submit an award application (Form WB-APP).
The CFTC evaluates a number of factors in determining the exact award percentage to grant a whistleblower. These include the timeliness of the disclosure, the degree of further assistance provided by the whistleblower, the law enforcement interest in the case, and the whistleblower’s culpability in the violations.
In addition to awards for CFTC enforcement actions, the CFTC Whistleblower Program offers whistleblower awards for Related Actions carried out by other agencies. A Related Action is an enforcement action brought by another agency that is based on the same information provided to the CFTC by a whistleblower. Related Action awards are also for 10-30% of the funds collected in the action. The CFTC does not post NCAs for Related Actions and it is thus up to the whistleblower to determine if there are eligible Related Actions. Working with an experienced whistleblower attorney can help with this process.
Since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC has awarded approximately $123 million to whistleblowers. The single largest award issued by the CFTC was a $30 million award granted to a whistleblower in 2018. According to that award order, the CFTC opened an investigation following the whistleblower’s disclosure, the whistleblower “provided ongoing, extensive and timely cooperation” throughout the investigation, and the whistleblower did not participate in the violations.