Bernstein Liebhard LLP Issues A Whistleblower Alert: CFTC Announces First Whistleblower Award

May 22, 2014

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Acting Chairman, Mark Wetjen, announced on May 20, 2014 that the CFTC would award an unidentified whistleblower $240,000 for reporting valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.  The award is the first to be issued under the CFTC’s whistleblower program created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, and the Director of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Office hopes that it “will send the strong message that the CFTC will pay for information that helps us do our jobs.”

“This is yet another arrow in the quiver for whistleblowers who are increasingly being encouraged by both federal and state agencies to report incidents of fraud and unlawful conduct,” commented Stanley D. Bernstein, a founding partner of Bernstein Liebhard LLP.

The CFTC’s announcement provided no details about the parties involved, the misconduct, or the sanctions collected, but Mr. Bernstein believes the CFTC’s message was clear:  “do not get on the wrong side of the law, or else.”  In fact, according to Mr. Bernstein, “sometimes, less is more.  An announcement like this helps preserve a whistleblower’s anonymity, which encourages more whistleblowers to step forward.”  Identity protection is often a big concern for tipsters who fear that they will be retaliated against by their employers for doing the right thing, added Mr. Bernstein.

The CFTC’s whistleblower program provides awards to persons who report violations of the Commodity Exchange Act if the information results in more than $1 million in sanctions.  Whistleblowers are eligible for 10 to 30 percent of the monies collected.  The CFTC can also issue awards based on monetary sanctions collected by other agencies in actions that are related to a successful CFTC action, and are based on information provided by persons who tipped off the CFTC.  Other federal and state agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, maintain similar programs and offer similar incentives to whistleblowers.

If you are seeking to blow the whistle on a fraud or a violation of the tax, commodities, or securities laws, a whistleblower lawyer at Bernstein Liebhard LLP can help you bring your case.  Please contact (888) 992-0017, or visit www.whistleblowerlawsuitcenter.com, for a free confidential review of your case.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP represents whistleblowers throughout the U.S., and has pursued hundreds of securities, consumer, and shareholder rights cases, recovering over $3 billion for its clients.  It has been named to The National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs’ Hot List” in each of the last twelve years.