There are certain requirements that need to be met in order to remain completely anonymous to the public when you become a CFTC Whistleblower. In this FAQ, you will learn how to ensure your identity will be protected and how to qualify for the financial award you deserve.

The Dodd-Frank Act created the first whistleblower reward programs, covering both commodity futures and securities frauds. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has jurisdiction over securities frauds, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has jurisdiction over commodity frauds. Together, these two offices cover the publicly traded economy.

The CFTC Whistleblower Program allows for those with inside knowledge of commodities fraud to remain fully confidential in order to avoid retaliation or other adverse actions from employers.

Key Takeaways

  • The CFTC Whistleblower Program is designed to let whistleblowers with knowledge of commodities fraud to anonymously and confidentially report frauds and earn financial awards.
  • In order to remain fully anonymous during the filing process, it is best practice to hire an experienced attorney to assist you with your proceedings.
  • In order to qualify for a whistleblower award, you must file a Form TCR with original information of fraud in a timely manner.

Reporting Anonymously as a CFTC Whistleblower

CFTC whistleblowers can use the Dodd Frank Act to file award claims completely anonymously and confidentially.

The anonymity provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act work like this:

  • If you want to file an anonymous reward claim, you must hire an attorney.
  • You thereafter have to file the information for which you will base your reward on an official complaint form made available by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission known as a TCR. That form must be signed by the whistleblower, under oath.
  • However, instead of filing the TCR form with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the whistleblower submits the signed TCR to his or her attorney. The attorney must also obtain proof of the anonymous whistleblower’ identity, usually through a copy of the whistleblower’s passport or driver’s license. Then, the attorney must maintain a copy of the signed-reward form and the identity papers. As a result, the attorney is under an ethical obligation to maintain the identity of his or her client, unless the client waives that right.
  • Thereafter, the attorney fills out another CFTC TCR form, with the precise information provided by the whistleblower, signs the form, and files the form on behalf of the whistleblower. In this way the CFTC only knows the identity of the whistleblower’s attorney, and the identity of the whistleblower remains confidential.
  • By having the attorney sign the TCR form the CFTC can hold a licensed attorney accountable for any misconduct in the tip or award application process. This can help prevent fraudulent filings. It also maintains a point-of-contact permitting the CFTC to communicate with the whistleblower through his or her attorney.
  • The anonymous CFTC whistleblower can maintain his or her anonymity throughout the investigation. However, once the CFTC sanctions a company for over $1 million, the whistleblower is required to file a new form, known as the APP form, in order to request the payment of a reward.
  • Unlike the SEC, the CFTC allows whistleblowers to file an APP anonymously through their attorney. However, at the time of an award payment the CFTC can require that the identity of the whistleblower be confirmed by the attorney.

Qualifying as a CFTC Whistleblower

Using the Dodd Frank Act, commodities fraud whistleblowers can file cases with the CFTC.

Using a Form TCR (Tip, Complaint, or Referral), an individual or group of individuals can submit known violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). The CFTC will then investigate the potential fraud and decide if they have sufficient enough evidence to bring forth enforcement actions. If the CFTC brings forth successful enforcement actions resulting in penalties exceeding $1 million or more, CFTC whistleblowers are entitled to an award ranging from 10-30% of the monies collected.

Both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens can qualify as CFTC whistleblowers.

History of the CFTC Whistleblower Program

The CFTC Whistleblower Program was established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Whistleblower Rules governing the program became effective in October 2011, and were later amended in July 2017.

Since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC Whistleblower Program has awarded approximately $123 million to whistleblowers.

All whistleblower awards are paid through the CFTC Consumer Fund, which is financed entirely by the monetary sanctions resulting from enforcement actions brought on against violators of the Commodity Exchange Act.