The Director of the Whistleblower Office for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) wants to strengthen the agency’s whistleblower program. Christopher Ehrman, who left the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2013 to lead the CFTC’s whistleblower program, recently told the National Law Journal that he is “committed to doing everything I can to protect whistleblowers.”
Both the SEC and the CFTC have whistleblower programs that allow whistleblowers to receive up to 30 percent of monies recovered by the government based on the whistleblower’s original information. The SEC has awarded 21 whistleblowers to date, while the CFTC has awarded only three. There are signs, however, that the CFTC may be catching up. In April, the CFTC approved a payout of more than $10 million to a whistleblower who provided key information that led to a successful CFTC enforcement action. The identity of the whistleblower and the name of the company penalized were not disclosed in that case. Ehrman, in a press release, stated:
The Whistleblower Program is working. My hope is that this multimillion dollar award will encourage others to come forward with information that will assist the Commission in protecting our markets.
The CFTC’s Whistleblower Program was created by section 748 of the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFTC pays monetary awards to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the CFTC with original information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). Under the Dodd-Frank Act, employers may not retaliate against whistleblowers for reporting violations of the CEA to the CFTC. In general, employers may not discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, or discriminate against a whistleblower because of any lawful act done by the whistleblower.
According to Ehrman, the CFTC’s whistleblower program is gaining momentum. He told the National Law Journal:
My sense is that you’re going to see a lot more frequent awards than in the past. They used to be every year. I think we’re going to step that up. Certainly we’ll be doing more than one a year.
Lawyers at Beasley Allen handle whistleblower cases involving violations of the federal False Claims Act and related state statutes, as well as cases under the IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower programs. For more information on our firm’s whistleblower practice, contact Archie Grubb (Archie.Grubb@BeasleyAllen.com) at 800-898-2034.
Sources: www.CFTC.gov and www.nationallawjournal.com
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