Whistleblowers are the most potent weapon of law enforcement and regulators. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced an award of nearly $200 million to a whistleblower whose specific, credible, and timely original information significantly contributed to an already open investigation and led to successful enforcement action well as to the success of two related actions. The whistleblower’s information led the CFTC to substantial, direct evidence of wrongdoing. Whistleblowing has become also a big business for lawyers.
To qualify for an award, a whistleblower who significantly contributed to the success of an enforcement action must demonstrate that there is a “meaningful nexus” between the information provided and the CFTC’s ability to complete its investigation successfully and to either obtain a settlement or prevail in a litigated proceeding. The Commission determined here that the whistleblower met this standard. The whistleblower’s claim in connection with a third related action by a state regulator was denied because the whistleblower’s information was never shared with the state regulator.
With this award, the CFTC has granted whistleblower awards associated with enforcement actions that have resulted in monetary sanctions totaling more than $3 billion.