CFTC Issues Fourth Whistleblower Bounty of $50,000

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Dollar banknote on white table, representing whistleblower amendments, insider trading, and whistleblower awards.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued its third award in the last year and fourth overall to CFTC whistleblowers pursuant to the terms of the Dodd-Frank Act. The decision was approved last week and the press release issued by the commodities regulator today.

The whistleblower’s name, the percentage of the penalty, and the subject matter of the tip remains confidential pursuant to the terms of the government program. It was the eight award determination of fiscal year 2016, with the only other approved award the $10 million announcement from March.

Of course, $50,000 isn’t a tremendous amount given the size of the coffers that Congress allocated for payouts. It also is less than one would expect from the typical whistleblower reward given the minimum figures at play. With a minimum reward percentage of 10% and a minimum monetary sanction of $1 million in order to generate a notice of covered action, the minimum one would expect is $100,000.

After examining the CFTC’s award determination, it appears that only a portion of the fine came from the information provided by the whistleblower. The government acknowledges that the information was sufficient to “cause the Commission to open an investigation” but that the successful action was only “based in part on conduct that was the subject of the Applicant’s original information.”

The CFTC was criticized earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal for their inability to give money away, as the headline put it. But the small size of this bounty notwithstanding, the regulator appears to be making some strides. Our law firm has found the CFTC professional and responsive to informant tips.