Commodity Futures Trading Whistleblowers

Doyle Dennis Avery LLP represents whistleblowers who report fraud or violations of Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and report this to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Eligible whistleblowers who report fraud or violations, may be entitled to an award ranging from 10 percent to 30 percent of the amount collected by the federal government.

What type of information is necessary to make a whistleblower claim?

Under the CFTC whistleblower program, a whistleblower may report a past or future violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).  Some examples of violations of the CEA may include:

  • Fraud, including fraudulent solicitation, misappropriation of customer funds, issuing false customer account statements, mishandling customer funds, Ponzi schemes, or affinity schemes;
  • Market manipulation, including attempted market manipulation and disruptive trading practices, fictitious and non-competitive transactions, illicit trading strategies designed to manipulate or attempt to manipulate prices, and spoofing, which is defined as entering an order with the intent to cancel it before it is consummated in a complete transaction.
  • Trade practice violations, including wash sales, fictitious sales, noncompetitive transactions, violation of position limits, noncompetitive exchange of futures for physical transactions opposite each other, unauthorized swap transactions, inadequate oversight of traders, undercapitalization, improper controls and supervision, improper handling and/or segregation of customer funds, failing to comply with applicable record-keeping and audit trail rules, and creating after the fact trading records containing fictitious information that were submitted for clearing.

Importantly, a whistleblower must provide original information – in other words, a report that was not publicly available or was the result of the whistleblower’s independent analysis if that information was not previously known to the CFTC.

How do I make a report?

A whistleblower may report original information to the CFTC, by using the forms available from the CFTC.  Unlike some other whistleblower complaints, an CFTC complaint is not filed in federal or state court.  Instead, the claim is handled by the CFTC investigative team.

Should I hire an attorney?

While a whistleblower can file a CFTC tip without hiring an attorney, there are some important advantages in hiring counsel.  If an attorney submits a claim with the CFTC, the whistleblower may be able to stay anonymous.  In addition, experienced attorneys will have greater knowledge of the legal requirements for submitting a claim and thus increase the likelihood that the claim is accepted.

What damages can I obtain?

A successful CFTC whistleblower may be entitled to an award ranging from 10 percent to 30 percent of the amount collected by the federal government. If the CFTC refused the reward, the whistleblower may appeal the decision.