In the summer of 2010, the U.S. Congress passed a sweeping financial regulatory overhaul as part of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which included whistleblower provisions for individuals who report illegal manipulation of commodities and futures markets. Under this law, a whistleblower program administered by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) allows people who report fraud to receive a financial reward if the CFTC collects any monetary sanctions in excess of $1 million.
Eligibility for CFTC Rewards
To be eligible for a CFTC whistleblower reward, the whistleblower must voluntarily disclose the violation to the CFTC before a government authority requests the information from the individual. A whistleblower who first discloses the violation internally to his or her employer will still be eligible for a reward if the whistleblower also discloses the violation to the CFTC within 120 days.
The information provided by the whistleblower must be “original,” meaning it was derived from the independent knowledge of the whistleblower, and not known to the CFTC from any other source. In addition, the information may not be exclusively derived from an allegation made in a judicial or administrative hearing, a government report, audit, or investigation, or the news media, unless the whistleblower is a source of the information.
CFTC Whistleblower Rewards
Under the CFTC whistleblower program, a whistleblower may receive 10 percent to 40 percent of any monetary sanctions collected by the CFTC if the sanctions exceed $1 million. Factors used to determine the whistleblower’s reward include:
- the significance of the information provided by the whistleblower;
- the degree of assistance provided by the whistleblower;
- the interest of the CFTC in deterring violations of securities laws; and
- other factors that the CFTC may establish by rule or regulation.
CFTC Whistleblower Protections
Job Protections: The Dodd Frank Act specifically states that employers may not fire, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or discriminate against a whistleblower. Whistleblowers who suffer from employment retaliation may sue for reinstatement, back pay and any other damages that occurred. CFTC whistleblowers who are able to prove retaliation may be entitled to:
- Reinstatement to their former position;
- Recovery of the wages owed to the employee in the form of back pay with interest;
- Recovery of compensatory damages; and
- Recovery of attorney fees and litigation costs, including expert witness fees.
Confidentiality: The CFTC must keep a whistleblower’s identity confidential unless and until the identity is required to be disclosed to a defendant or respondent in a government proceeding. However, the CFTC may share whistleblower information with the U.S. Justice Department, appropriate state or federal agencies or departments, state attorneys general in connection with criminal investigations.
Legal Help for CFTC Whistleblowers
Gilman Law LLP is one of the top securities fraud law firms in the U.S. and possesses a broad range of experience representing whistleblowers. If you’re looking for help exposing illegal manipulation of commodities and futures markets, please contact the whistleblower lawyers at Gilman Law today for your free and confidential case evaluation by completing our online form on the left or call Toll Free at (888) 252-0048.