As I noted here in February 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Dodd-Frank whistleblower program had been off to a slow start, having paid out just two awards totaling $530,000 over the entire life of the program. That changed dramatically this week, however, when the CFTC announced a huge award of more than $10 million to a whistleblower who provided "key original information that led to a successful CFTC enforcement action." The CFTC emphasized that, by law, it protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and that it does not disclose any identifying information.
Aitan Goelman, Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, stated that the large award "shows the importance that the Commission places on incentivizing future whistleblowers.” Christopher Ehrman, the Director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office, added that the award proves that the CFTC's Whistleblower Program is working and that he hoped it would encourage others to come forward with information.
Like the SEC's whistleblower program -- which was similarly established by Dodd-Frank -- the CFTC's program pays monetary awards to whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the agency with original information that leads the CFTC to bring a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000. Under both the SEC and CFTC programs, whistleblowers can receive between 10 percent and 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected. To date, the SEC's program has been far more active, having issued $55 million in awards to 23 whistleblowers.
The CFTC has now announced three awards:
May 19, 2014: $240,000 award
September 29, 2015: $290,000 award
April 6, 2016: $10,000,000 award