While the American public’s attention is captured by news of a whistleblower’s White House report, other types of whistleblowers continue to come forward to report financial fraud against the government, and they are being richly rewarded as a result. In one of the latest examples, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that a whistleblower who reported significant concern about wrongdoing has been awarded $7 million.
The type of whistleblower who receives a financial award is one who knows of financial wrongdoing and reports it to the concerned government agency so that it can be investigated. The specifics of the whistleblower’s story need not be exactly right: it just needs to be enough to point the investigators in the right direction so that they can ultimately assess a fine against the wrongdoers. The whistleblower then receives a reward of between ten and thirty percent of the penalty that the wrongdoer is assessed.
Whistleblower Awards Were Codified by Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Coming forward as a whistleblower takes courage, as the act is generally performed by either an employee or some other insider. They are often subjected to retribution if their identity is discovered. Though the law specifically protects them from coming to any type of harm, they are still often harassed, and many have to pursue justice to get their jobs or positions back once their identity becomes known.
The $7 million award that was paid to the most recent whistleblower represents just a small part of the overall program. There have been more than $90 million in awards paid out since the law was established. Speaking of the success of the program, CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald said, “Today’s award demonstrates how integral whistleblowers have become to our enforcement efforts. Forty percent of our investigations now involve whistleblowers. We expect that number to increase as the CFTC continues to expand its whistleblower program.”
CFTC Whistleblower Office Director Christopher Ehrman said, “This award shows that, in some cases, whistleblowers may provide information about wrongdoing that is not completely accurate, but if any information they provide leads us to open an investigation resulting in a successful enforcement action, we will reward them accordingly.”