Federal and state laws protect people who report their employer’s illegal activity to governmental bodies. Individuals involved in commodities and futures trading who observe and report illegal activity are protected under the U.S. Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblower Program.
The CFTC Whistleblower Program can be challenging to navigate. The fierce CFTC whistleblower attorneys at King & Siegel LLP can help you with the CFTC whistleblower process. We can advise you on your rights and obligations and help you make informed decisions to protect your best interests.
CFTC Whistleblower Program
The CFTC Whistleblower Program was established by the Dodd-Frank Act to encourage individuals to report possible violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations. The program has several notable features. It provides financial incentives to whistleblowers who provide original information that leads to successful enforcement action. Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award of between 10% and 30% of the monetary sanctions collected in a successful enforcement action.
It also provides protections for whistleblowers. It prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports illegal activity to the CFTC. It also provides confidentiality. This means that the CFTC doesn’t disclose the identity of whistleblowers except in limited circumstances.
This is a general description of the CFTC Whistleblower Program. You should speak with one of the CFTC whistleblower lawyers at King & Siegel LLC today for more detailed information.
Violations Covered by the CFTC Whistleblower Program
The CFTC Whistleblower Program regulates and prevents fraud in the commodity futures and swaps markets. Some types of fraud under the CFTC Whistleblower Program include:
- Insider trading—using non-public information to trade in commodity futures or swaps;
- Manipulation—attempting to interfere with the normal functioning of the commodity futures or swaps markets through deceitful or fraudulent means, such as spreading false information or cornering the market;
- False reporting—providing false or misleading information to the CFTC or other regulatory body;
- Misappropriation—stealing or misusing funds or property entrusted to one’s care;
- False statements—making false statements or omissions in connection with a commodity interest transaction; and
- Spoofing—manipulating the market by placing fake orders with the intent of tricking other market participants and profiting from the resulting market movements.
These are just a few examples. You should speak with one of our commodities fraud lawyers to determine if your situation falls within the CFTC’s purview.
Types of Commodities Trading the CFTC Oversees
The CFTC oversees trading in a wide range of commodities. These include:
- Agricultural commodities like grains, livestock, and “softs” such as coffee, cocoa, and sugar;
- Energy commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, heating oil, and gasoline;
- Metals such as gold, silver, copper, and aluminum; and
- Financial commodities, including interest rates, foreign currencies, and cryptocurrencies.
The CFTC also has the authority to oversee trading in other commodity markets. Contact our commodities fraud attorneys today to determine if the CFTC program or another whistleblower program covers you.
How to File a Tip
If you would like to file a tip with the CFTC Whistleblower Program, you must fill out the agency’s tip, complaint, and referral form (TCR form). You can file it online, by mail, or by fax.
The TCR form requires detailed information. The CFTC whistleblower lawyers at King & Siegel LLP can help you compile all the data and information you’ll need for your tip to increase the chances of the CFTC acting on your information.
Eligibility for an Award
To be eligible for an award under the CFTC Whistleblower Program, an individual must provide original information to the CFTC that leads to a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions of $1 million or more. The whistleblower must also comply with the program’s procedural requirements, like filing a Form TCR, participating in any investigation, and responding to follow-up requests.
The whistleblower may be excluded from eligibility if they have a legal or contractual duty to report the information. They may also be excluded if they obtain the information when committing a crime.
Our office can help you understand award eligibility. Plus, we can work with the CFTC to ensure that you receive the award to which you are entitled.
Past CFTC Awards
The following are examples of CFTC enforcement actions with public awards:
- In 2019, the CFTC announced an award of $7 million to a whistleblower whose tip led the CFTC to investigate and ultimately find a violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA);
- In 2020, the CFTC announced an award of more than $9 million to a whistleblower whose information led to a successful enforcement action; and
- In 2021, the CFTC announced a historic award of $200 million to a whistleblower whose information led to successful enforcement actions by the CFTC, another federal regulator and a foreign regulator.
The CFTC did not disclose the identity of these whistleblowers or any information that could reveal their identity.
CFTC Whistleblower Program Retaliation Protections
Retaliation is any adverse action taken against an individual for reporting a possible violation to the CFTC. Examples of retaliation include termination of employment, demotion, harassment, or other forms of discrimination.
The CFTC Whistleblower Program prohibits retaliation. If a whistleblower believes they’re the victim of retaliation, they can contact the CFTC. The CFTC may bring an enforcement action against the retaliatory party. The whistleblower may also file a civil case for retaliation, where they can seek damages, including lost wages, special damages, and attorney fees and costs.
It’s important to understand all your options if you’ve been subject to retaliation. Contact King & Siegel LLP to help you take steps to protect your best interests.
King & Siegel LLP Fights for CFTC Whistleblowers
The CFTC Whistleblower Program can be complex and intimidating. You need a fierce advocate to fight for your best interests and help you keep your information secure.
The CFTC whistleblower attorneys at King & Siegel LLP can help in several ways, including:
- Providing guidance for submitting a tip;
- Helping the whistleblower to present the information clearly and persuasively;
- Advising on the potential risks and benefits, including the possibility of retaliation and the potential for an award;
- Representing the whistleblower in any interactions with the CFTC; and
- Assisting the whistleblower with filing anonymously.
King & Siegel LLP can help secure your protection throughout this process. Contact us today.
Can I File a Tip Anonymously?
Yes. You must first contact the CFTC by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Whistleblower Hotline at 1-866-873-5675 before you file if you wish to remain anonymous.
Filing an anonymous tip can be complicated. Anonymous whistleblowers should work with a lawyer to help keep their identity confidential. Call one of our CFTC whistleblower lawyers today to help you navigate this process.
How Does the CFTC Decide on Whether to Grant an Award?
The CFTC grants awards to an eligible whistleblower on a case-by-case basis. The CFTC considers several factors, including:
- The significance of the information;
- The degree of assistance;
- The participation of the whistleblower in the CFTC’s investigation and enforcement action; and
- Whether the CFTC imposes sanctions against the company;
The CFTC may also consider whether the information provided by the whistleblower is original and if the whistleblower participated in the misconduct. The attorneys at King & Siegel LLP can help whistleblowers compile their tips in a manner that increases the likelihood of an award.