Whistleblower Rewards for Anonymously Reporting Fraud in the Commodities Market

As part of the Dodd-Frank Act the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) was required to establish a whistleblower rewards program for all frauds covered under the Commodity Exchange Act. This program implements the law’s requirement that the CFTC pay anonymous CFTC whistleblowers whose original information results in a sanction of $1 million or more a monetary reward.

To implement the law the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has created an Office of the Whistleblower. This office publishes extensive information about the commodity whistleblower rewards program on-line.

When someone files a claim with the CFTC anonymously, what must anonymous CFTC whistleblowers do?

The Dodd-Frank Act created the first anonymous rewards program for anonymous CFTC whistleblowers, covering both commodity and securities frauds. The Securities and Exchange Commission has jurisdiction over securities frauds, and the CFTC has jurisdiction over commodity frauds. Together, these two offices cover the publicly traded economy.

What Steps Must Be Taken To File An Anonymous Claim?

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 fill 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 award application process. This can help prevent fraudulent filings. It also holds the attorney accountable for false statements, and 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.
  • At the time an APP form is filed, the CFTC can require that the identity of the whistleblower be provided. The CFTC can require proof that the whistleblower provided to his or her attorney the signed TCR form and proof of identity prior to the attorney’s filing the reward claim.

Where Can I Obtain More Information About Filing Anonymous Or Confidential Claims With The Commodity Futures Trading Commission Under The Dodd-Frank Act’s Whistleblower Program?

The New Whistleblower’s Handbook contains extensive information on the Dodd-Frank Act protections. Rule 1 covers confidentiality and anonymity; Rule – covers the reward provisions of the Securities and Commodity Exchange Acts.

For a tax deductible donation of $50.00 or more, you can obtain a free copy of the Handbook from the National Whistleblower Center.