The Law Firm of Piacentile, Stefanowski & Malherbe LLP

CFTC Issues Massive, Unprecedented Reward to Whistleblower – $200 Million

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (also known as the ‘CFTC’) is an independent government agency that monitors and regulates the derivatives market, which includes futures, swaps, and options. In 2010, a CFTC whistleblower program was created as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. Through this program, people can disclose violations of law that are overseen by the CFTC, encompassing violations like unauthorized trading, violations of the Bank Secrecy Act where commodities are involved, spoofing, and more. This whistleblower program protects its whistleblowers from retaliation and rewards them for offering information that leads to settlements of more than $1 million.

In October of 2021, the CFTC announced the largest settlement from a whistleblower case in the agency’s history. The case involved the manipulation of financial benchmarks used to price fixed income futures, and other types of derivatives. The whistleblower provided trading information and documents which directly pointed to and supported these allegations. This sparked a joint investigation by the CFTC and other foreign regulators. In accordance with the CFTC’s rules, the identity of the perpetrators of this fraud were not made public but they were required to pay to settle the matter. Thanks to the CFTC’s whistleblower program, the whistleblower received a percentage of that settlement as a reward, which amounted to $200 million. Previously, the largest CFTC whistleblower reward had been $30 million for a case settled in 2018, while the majority of the cases handled by this agency pay out whistleblower rewards less than $3 million. 

This landmark case indicates that the CFTC can be a big player in the federal government’s fight against fraud and corruption. With bad actors looking for ways to defraud institutions and people, whistleblowers who denounce and expose these actions are more important than ever. 

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