The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) launched a new whistleblower website at www.whistleblower.gov. The new site has information about the agency’s whistleblower program for potential violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.
It outlines whistleblower rights and protections and guides users through the process of filing a whistleblower tip and applying for an award.
Also on the site are the rules and regulations governing the CFTC’s whistleblower program, final award determinations, notices of covered actions, and press releases.
The CFTC is an independent federal agency that regulates the U.S. derivatives markets, including futures, options, and swaps. Through its enforcement division, the CFTC investigates violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and the CFTC Regulations, including fraud, market manipulation, and illegal trade practices.
CFTC chair Timothy Massad said: “We want to provide people, whether they are whistleblowers, attorneys, or members of the public, the information they need to easily understand our whistleblower program, and to make the process of filing a tip and applying for an award more intuitive and straightforward.”
The CFTC’s whistleblower program was created by section 748 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The program rewards people who voluntarily report violations of the Commodity Exchange Act if the information leads to a successful CFTC enforcement action resulting in sanctions of more than $1 million.
The CFTC can also pay awards based on sanctions collected by other agencies that are related to a successful CFTC enforcement action and based on information provided by a CFTC whistleblower.
Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 percent and 30 percent of the money collected.
The CFTC made its first award to a whistleblower in May 2014, paying out $240,000.
In September 2015, the agency announced its second award of about $290,000.
The CFTC said in its latest annual report to the Senate it denied awards to 25 whistleblower award applicants.
Awards are paid from the CFTC Customer Protection Fund (established by Congress). The fund is financed entirely through sanctions the CFTC collects from violators of the Commodity Exchange Act.
The Dodd-Frank Act prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who provide the CFTC with information about possible violations or who help the CFTC in any investigation or enforcement action based on their information.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.