Image of CFTC Whistleblower Program: What are the largest CFTC whistleblower awards?

CFTC Whistleblower Program: What are the largest CFTC whistleblower awards?

Largest CFTC Whistleblower Awards

Since FY 2016, the CFTC has issued more than $100 million in CFTC whistleblower awards. The top 5 largest CFTC whistleblower awards to date are:

Under the CFTC Whistleblower-Reward Program, the CFTC is required to issue awards to eligible whistleblowers whose information leads to successful CFTC enforcement actions with total monetary sanctions exceeding $1 million. A whistleblower may receive an award of between 10% and 30% of the total monetary sanctions collected. To date, more than $800 million in monetary sanctions have been ordered against wrongdoers based on actionable information provided by whistleblowers.

The CFTC Whistleblower-Reward Program also offers robust whistleblower confidentiality protections and permits whistleblowers to submit anonymous tips if represented by counsel. See §165.4 Confidentiality.

Find out today if you might qualify for a CFTC whistleblower award. Contact the Director of our CFTC whistleblower practice at mstock@zuckermanlaw.com or call our leading whistleblower lawyers at (202) 930-5901 or (202) 262-8959.

Violations That May Lead to CFTC Whistleblower Awards

A whistleblower may be eligible for a CFTC whistleblower award if their tip leads to a successful enforcement action concerning any material violation of the Commodity Exchange Act or CFTC regulations. Since FY 2011, the monetary relief ordered in CFTC enforcement actions has been significant:

  • FY 2019: $1.3 billion
  • FY 2018: $947 million
  • FY 2017: $413 million
  • FY 2016: $1.3 billion
  • FY 2015: $3.2 billion
  • FY 2014: $3.3 billion
  • FY 2013: $1.8 billion
  • FY 2012: $932 million
  • FY 2011: $499 million

Whistleblowers whose information leads to successful CFTC enforcement actions may receive an award of between 10% and 30% of the total monetary sanctions collected.

In FY 2019, the CFTC filed more cases involving manipulative conduct and spoofing than any prior year but one—which was FY 2018. Also in FY 2019, as part of the CFTC Whistleblower-Reward Program, the Commission issued four “Whistleblower Alerts” to help whistleblowers identify red flags for certain violations that may lead to successful CFTC enforcement actions:

For more information about CFTC enforcement, please click here.

Foreign Corrupt Practices

Generally, “foreign corrupt practices” are actions that “seek to improperly influence foreign officials” with personal payments or rewards. Fraudulent conduct relating to such practices could include practices that alter the prices in commodity markets or manipulate benchmarks, bribes employed to secure business in connection with regulated activities like trading or advising, and paid out of funds investors believed were being used to invest.

Virtual Currency Fraud

Virtual currency is a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange or a store of value. The CFTC advises potential whistleblowers to be on the lookout for practices such as “pump-and-dump” schemes, pre-arranged trading of virtual currencies, and trading of currencies by unregistered persons or on unregistered platforms. Failure to properly register or abide by CFTC regulations regarding virtual currency is also a fraudulent practice that a potential whistleblower should also bring to the attention of the CFTC, as it could lead to the discovery of a larger scheme.

Insider Trading

The CFTC defines insider trading as trading on the basis of material nonpublic information (MNPI) in breach of a pre-existing duty or that was obtained by fraud or deception. The CFTC’s alert on insider trading encourages reporting of trading on market moving information that the source had a duty to protect, brokers front running customer orders without consent or improperly disclosing customer orders, and swap dealers or major swap participants improperly disclosing MNPI without the counterparty’s consent.

Violations of the Bank Secrecy Act

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires U.S. financial institutions to collaborate with the government in cases of suspected money laundering and fraud. Under the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regulations, Futures Commission Merchants (FCM) and Introducing Brokers (IB) must comply with various BSA requirements. The CFTC has brought charges under Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations against IBs and FCMs for, among other things, improper supervision and records violations, failure to diligently supervise the handling of accounts, failure to file suspicious activity reports, and improper enforcement of training limits assigned by regulators. While these areas of misconduct are traditionally occupied by FinCEN, the CFTC is dedicated to pursuing these types of misconduct, as they can also constitute Commodity Exchange Act violations.

CFTC Whistleblower Law Firm – Tier 1

SEC whistleblower lawyersIf you are seeking representation in a CFTC whistleblower award case, contact the Director of our CFTC whistleblower practice at mstock@zuckermanlaw.com or call our leading whistleblower lawyers at (202) 930-5901 or (202) 262-8959. All inquiries are confidential. In conjunction with our courageous clients, we have helped the government halt multi-million dollar investment schemes, expose violations at large publicly traded companies and return funds to defrauded investors. Read our column about the success of the CFTC whistleblower program.

In 2018, Washingtonian magazine named two of our attorneys top whistleblower lawyers, and U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Click here to read reviews from clients that we have represented in whistleblower rewards and whistleblower retaliation matters.

Tracking CFTC Whistleblower Awards

The table below identifies some of the largest awards that the CFTC has provided to whistleblowers:

Whistleblower AwardDateBasis for Whistleblower Award
$45 millionAugust 2, 2018On August 2, 2018, the CFTC announced a $45 million award to multiple whistleblowers. Reports indicate the award was related to ISDAFIX manipulation enforcement actions.
$30 million
July 12, 2018On July 12, 2018, the CFTC announced its largest-ever whistleblower award given to an individual. The whistleblower exposed that JP Morgan did not properly disclose conflicts of interests to clients. Find the order here.
$10 millionMarch 28, 2016On April 4, 2016, the CFTC announced a $10 million award given to an individual. The whistleblower provided “valuable information” regarding violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. Find the order here.
$7 million
September 27, 2019On September 27, 2019, the CFTC issued a $7 million award to a whistleblower. CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald stated in the Press Release: “Forty percent of our investigations now involve whistleblowers. We expect that number to increase as the CFTC continues to expand its whistleblower program.” Find the order here.
$2.5 million
June 24, 2019On July 24, 2019, the CFTC issued a $2.5 million CFTC whistleblower award to an individual. The award was reduced because of the whistleblower’s delay in reporting. Director McDonald said the delay was “unreasonable” and the whistleblower could have received a larger award had this person not waited. Find the order here.
$2 millionJuly 1, 2019On July 1, 2019, the CFTC issued a $2 million CFTC whistleblower award to two whistleblowers. The whistleblowers provided multiple interviews and documents that were “highly informative” and provided the agency “with significant information” that prompted the CFTC to open an investigation. The whistleblowers also reported the violations to another organization that conducted a separate investigation and shared its findings with the CFTC. Find the order here.
$2 millionMarch 4, 2019On March 4, 2019, the CFTC announced an award of over $2 million to a whistleblower. The whistleblower conducted an "independent analysis" of market data, which aided greatly in the CFTC’s investigation. The whistleblower was not an insider. The order is here.
$1.5 millionMay 6, 2019On May 6, 2019, the CFTC announced a $1.5 million award to a whistleblower who tried to report it internally first. The CFTC granted the reward to the whistleblower for both a CFTC action and a related action brought by another federal regulator. Find the order here.
$290,000September 29, 2015On September 29, 2015, the CFTC announced an award of $290,000 to a whistleblower. Two applicants applied for the award, but the CFTC only awarded one of the whistleblowers because the “the information provided by the second applicant did not lead to a successful enforcement . . . action.”
$240,000May 20, 2014On May 20, 2014, the CFTC announced its first-ever whistleblower award of $240,000. The then-acting director of the CFTC reported that the whistleblower provided “specific, timely and credible information” that led to a successful investigation.

Top-Rated CFTC Whistleblower Lawyers

We have assembled a team of leading whistleblower lawyers to provide top-notch representation to whistleblowers.  Recently Washingtonian magazine named two of our attorneys top whistleblower lawyers. U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 Law Firm in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

  • Matt Stock is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and former KPMG external auditor.  As an auditor, Mr. Stock developed an expertise in financial statement analysis, internal controls testing and fraud recognition, and he uses his auditing experience to help whistleblowers investigate and disclose complex financial frauds to the government and obtain damages for retaliation.  He is the lead author of SEC Whistleblower Program: Tips from SEC Whistleblower Attorneys to Maximize an SEC Whistleblower Award.
  • Both Bachman and Zuckerman served in senior positions at the Office of Special Counsel, where they oversaw investigations of whistleblower retaliation claims and whistleblower disclosures, and enforced the Whistleblower Protection Act.
  • Eric Bachman has substantial experience litigating precedent-setting employment cases.  His wins include a $100 million settlement in a disparate impact Title VII class action and a $16 million class-action settlement against a major grocery chain.  Having served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury trials, Bachman is ready to go the distance to obtain the relief that you deserve.
  • Jason Zuckerman was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2017, 2015, 2009, and 2007 selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® in the category of employment law (2011-2017), and selected by his peers to be listed in SuperLawyers(2012 and 2015-2017) in the category of labor and employment law.  Zuckerman is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, based largely on client reviews, and rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell based on peer reviews.
  • Bachman and Zuckerman served on the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor to improve OSHA’s administration of federal whistleblower protections.
  • The firm has published extensively on whistleblower rights and protections, and regularly speaks nationwide at seminars and continuing legal education conferences.  We blog about new developments in whistleblower law at the Whistleblower Protection Blog.
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Jason Zuckerman, Principal of Zuckerman Law, litigates whistleblower retaliation, qui tam, wrongful discharge, and other employment-related claims. He is rated 10 out of 10 by Avvo, was recognized by Washingtonian magazine as a “Top Whistleblower Lawyer” in 2015 and selected by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America® and in SuperLawyers.

Matthew Stock is the Director of the Whistleblower Rewards Practice at Zuckerman Law. He represents whistleblowers around the world in SEC, CFTC and IRS whistleblower claims. He is also a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and former KPMG external auditor.