Whistleblower awarded $4.5m by the CFTC for ‘significant’ help

The whistleblower supported the Division of Enforcement with industry expertise.

A whistleblower has been awarded $4.5m by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for providing detailed industry information which supported an enforcement action.

The individual provided assistance to the Division of Enforcement (DOE), which the CFTC said was significant in both the amount of information as well as the quality. The DOE staff were also helped by the whistleblower’s industry expertise.

“This award appropriately rewards a whistleblower who gave valuable information during multiple contacts with DOE staff,” said Director of Enforcement Ian McGinley.

“The CFTC especially appreciates the critical role whistleblowers play in our enforcement actions. We recognize it is not always easy to come forward and provide support.”

Awards totalling over $370m

This is the second whistleblower award made by the CFTC this year so far. The first one was in March, when one individual was awarded about $1.25m for reporting on misconduct. It was also the first award to apply under the CFTC’s 120-day safe harbor provision.

The whistleblower had first reported the problem to their employer, but no meaningful remedial action was taken, so the issue was reported to the CFTC.

“The whistleblower first reported internally, fulfilling job duties and putting the entity on notice of its wrongdoing,” said Brian Young, Director of the Whistleblower Office. 

“This award appropriately rewards a whistleblower who gave valuable information during multiple contacts with DOE staff.”

Ian McGinley, Director of Enforcement

Since 2014, the CFTC has awarded whistleblowers more than $370m. And the awards are connected with enforcement actions that have resulted in monetary sanctions totalling more than $3.2 billion.

The biggest award to date was issued in 2021, when one whistleblower was awarded $200m for information that contributed to an already open investigation and resulted in successful CFTC enforcement action, along with two related actions by a US federal regulator and by a foreign regulator. This outsized payout meant that 2021 was also the year that saw the largest combined awards total of $204m.

“A whistleblower need not be an insider to provide the cooperation and information that leads to a successful CFTC enforcement action,” Young added. “Anyone who provides actionable information – including victims, witnesses, and insiders – may qualify to receive a cash award under the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program.” 

YearNumber of whistleblowersTotal amount
202012$18.25m + ‘undisclosed’ further awards
20183 to 5*$75.07m
20151Approximately $290,000
20141Approximately $240,000
*Total number of separate whistleblowers not disclosed.

The largest number of awards were paid out in 2020, with six awards going to 12 whistleblowers.

The awards range between 10% and 30% of the monetary sanctions collected, are paid from the CFTC’s Customer Protection Fund, and are financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the CFTC by violators of the Commodity Exchange Act.