June 24, 2019
CFTC Announces Approximately $2.5 Million Whistleblower Award
Washington, DC — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today a whistleblower award of approximately $2.5 million to be paid to an individual whistleblower. In ordering the award, the CFTC took into account the significance of early reporting of misconduct, however, the award was reduced because of the whistleblower’s delay in reporting to the CFTC.
“Today’s award goes to a whistleblower who assisted the CFTC at every step of the investigation,” said James McDonald, Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement. “Although this award was substantial, it was reduced because of an unreasonable delay in reporting the violations. We hope this case illustrates the importance of reporting violations to the CFTC as soon as reasonably possible. Reporting early lessens the harm violators can inflict on the public and hastens our investigations to bring the culprits to justice.”
Christopher Ehrman, Director of CFTC’s Whistleblower Office, said, “We understand that whistleblowers may have reasons to delay reporting suspected Commodity Exchange Act violations, however, there is a point at which a delay becomes unreasonable. Timeliness is critical because it plays a vital role in our assessment of whistleblower awards. The facts in this case indicated that the whistleblower unreasonably delayed in reporting information, which resulted in a diminished award.”
In addition, the program affords protections against retaliation. Employers may not take any action to impede a would-be whistleblower from communicating directly with the Commission’s staff about possible violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA); nor may employers discharge, demote, suspend, harass, or in any way discriminate against someone for providing information to the Commission under the Whistleblower Program. An employee may have a private right of action, and the CFTC may bring an enforcement action against an employer for any retaliatory acts.