Yesterday, I had a chance to visit with folks at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and I realized that the CFTC’s new whistleblower program is probably the one that gets the least attention.
The CFTC whistleblower program and that of the SEC should be thought of as “sister” programs because there are a great number of similarities between the two. In fact, Martinez, a staffer on the SEC whistleblower side, spent the last year working with the CFTC folks to get the CFTC whistleblower program up and running. Both programs came into being through the Dodd Frank Act, so they both have similar legal constructs. While I am always glad to see new qui tam programs come into existence, I am not thrilled by the amount of discretion the Dodd Frank Act gave the SEC and the CFTC in determining whistleblower awards. Tune in for more ranting about that issue in a future post.
Like the SEC, the CFTC program uses a TCR form and requires whistleblowers to provide “original information” to be considered for an award. Neither the SEC program nor the CFTC program requires employee whistleblowers to report the information through internal compliance processes, but both give a few extra perks and considerations to folks that do report internally.
Both programs stress that ANYONE – not just employees, not just shareholders – can qualify for an award. The keys to an award are how much help the whistleblower’s claim provides in recovering improperly obtained funds and how well the whistleblower adheres to several factors the Commissions have identified to increase an award.
For more information on whether you might be eligible for a reward for reporting violations of the Commodity Exchange Act, call Stengle Law for a free consultation today.