Commodities Futures Trading Commission issues first whistleblower award under Dodd-Frank

by Ben Vernia | May 27th, 2014

On May 20, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission announced that it had paid $240,000 to an unnamed individual for blowing the whistle on commodities fraud, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank law. According to the CFTC’s press release:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Acting Chairman Mark Wetjen announced today that the agency will make its first award to a whistleblower as part of the Commission’s Whistleblower Program created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The person will receive approximately $240,000 for providing valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.

“I am pleased to announce this first award which illustrates that the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program is a valuable resource for the American public. Information received under the Whistleblower Program helps the agency better protect market participants and the public through successful enforcement actions,” said CFTC Acting Chairman Wetjen.

Acting Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement Gretchen Lowe said, “Here, the whistleblower provided specific, timely and credible information that led to the Commission bringing important enforcement actions. The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program is attracting high-quality tips and cooperation we might not otherwise receive and is already having an impact on the Commission’s enforcement mission.”

Christopher Ehrman, the Director of the Whistleblower Office, said that the number of high quality tips, complaints and referrals received continues to increase. “Our Whistleblower Program is a necessary enforcement tool for the agency, and my hope is that this award will send the strong message that the CFTC will pay for information that helps us do our jobs.”

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program provides monetary awards to persons who report violations of the Commodity Exchange Act if the information leads us to an action that results in more than $1 million in monetary sanctions. Whistleblowers are eligible for 10 to 30 percent of monies collected. The CFTC can also pay awards based on monetary sanctions collected by other authorities in actions that are related to a successful CFTC action, and are based on information provided by a CFTC whistleblower. The Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower provisions also prohibit retaliation by employers against employees who provide the CFTC with information about possible violations, or who assist us in any investigation or proceeding based on such information.

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