May 26, 2020

CFTC Whistleblower Reward Program Essential to Enforcement of Commodities Laws

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or “Commission”) Division of Enforcement (“DOE”) recently published its second annual report. The report highlights the DOE’s success in prosecuting the most damaging forms of misconduct in the market – from manipulative behavior to commodities fraud, to misappropriation of confidential information.

The report included an overview of the CFTC Whistleblower Program. The DOE reports the whistleblower program continued to grow in 2019. The whistleblower reward program received 117 claims for awards. The DOE notes that while not all claims will result in a reward, the assistance that a whistleblower provides is essential. The DOE, “working through its Whistleblower Office, is committed to rewarding the critical assistance provided by qualified whistleblowers—and, at the same time, working to encourage other potential whistleblowers to come forward.”

Before 2019, the Commission issued a total of nine awards to commodities fraud whistleblowers. The Commission issued five awards in 2019, amounting to $15,384,664. Notably, the whistleblower program has now awarded a total of over $100 million to deserving whistleblowers. Commission actions associated with those awards have resulted in judgments totaling more than $800 million.


Established in 2011 under the Dodd-Frank Act, CFTC whistleblowers can remain anonymous. The CFTC provides whistleblowers with confidentiality protections regardless of whether the CFTC ultimately issues awards or proceeds with a case. The CFTC will not disclose any information that could reasonably be expected to reveal a whistleblower’s identity, except in limited circumstances such as in connection with a public proceeding that requires disclosure. The CFTC also protects whistleblowers who report commodities fraud through the whistleblower rewards program from retaliation.

According to the DOE’s report, it expects the CFTC Whistleblower Program to continue to be an essential part of the Commission’s broader enforcement efforts. Currently, between 30 to 40% of the DOE’s ongoing investigations involve a whistleblower component. Thus, the whistleblower program should continue its trend being an active and impactful component to enforcement at the CFTC in the coming years.

Read the report: FY 2019 Division of Enforcement Annual Report

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About this Author

Mary Jane Wilmoth KKC  managing partner  whistleblower protection, environmental and nuclear industry whistleblowers, Qui Tam/False Claims whistleblowers.
Managing Partner

Mary Jane Wilmoth is the firm’s managing partner, and works closely with the partners at KKC, specializing in environmental and nuclear whistleblower protection, Qui Tam/False Claims litigation, and labor and employment law. She joined the firm in 1992, and works on cases and hearings that involve complex nuclear and environmental regulations. In her efforts to assure such safeguards are upheld in the American workplace, she has helped to strengthen whistleblower rights in licensing and enforcement proceedings with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also defended whistleblowers at...