On July 12, the CFTC announced an award of approximately $30 million to a whistleblower who voluntarily provided key original information that led to a successful enforcement action. The award is the largest award made by the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program to date and is the fifth award made by the program. “The Whistleblower Program has become an integral component in the agency’s enforcement arsenal,” said CFTC Chairman, J. Christopher Giancarlo. “We hope that an award of this magnitude will incentivize whistleblowers to come forward with valuable information and provide notice to market participants that individuals are reporting quality information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act [CEA].” James McDonald, Director of the Division of Enforcement, stated: “Whistleblower submissions have become a significant part of our enforcement program, allowing us to pursue violations we might otherwise have been unable to detect. That’s one reason why we’ve worked hard to expand our Whistleblower Program, including by increasing the protections afforded to whistleblowers that come forward. I expect the Whistleblower Program to contribute even more substantially to our enforcement efforts going forward.” The CFTC pays monetary awards to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the CFTC with original information on violations of the CEA that leads the CFTC to bring a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000. By law, the CFTC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and does not disclose information that might directly or indirectly reveal a whistleblower’s identity. Whistleblowers are eligible to receive between 10 percent and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected. All whistleblower awards are paid from the CFTC Customer Protection Fund established by Congress and financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by violators of the CEA. No money is taken or withheld from harmed investors to fund the program. Previously, the highest award amount paid to a CFTC whistleblower was in March 2016 of more than $10 million.
Four days later, on July 16, the CFTC announced an award of over $70,000 to a whistleblower who significantly contributed to an ongoing CFTC investigation and led the CFTC to a successful settlement, marking the first award made by the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program to a whistleblower living in a foreign country and the sixth award to a whistleblower who provided valuable information about violations of the CEA. The award demonstrates the international reach of the Whistleblower Program, underscoring that any person worldwide who has information about potential violations of the CEA can become a whistleblower by simply submitting a tip online. James McDonald, Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, stated: “This award is significant because it signals to whistleblowers around the world that anyone with information about potential violations of the Commodity Exchange Act can participate in the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program. The award also serves as another example of the increasing significance of whistleblowers in our enforcement program, a trend I expect to continue going forward.”