The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is paying millions in awards to a couple of whistleblowers.

The derivatives regulator paid over US$15 million to a pair of tipsters who alerted it to suspected misconduct and touched off investigations that ultimately led to successful enforcement action.

In its orders detailing the awards, the CFTC didn’t disclose the specifics of the payments.

It did reveal that one of the whistleblowers provided extensive cooperation to the investigation, including “explaining the problematic violations and providing evidence that the conduct was ongoing;
interpreting key evidence for [enforcement] staff; [and] facilitating the appearance of another witness to
corroborate the violations” along with other assistance.

This help proved to be “highly important” to the investigation, the order said, adding that the tipster provided an explanation of the misconduct that “directly contradicted an explanation [the] company had provided, and in fact made more sense than the explanation the company had provided.”

“This led [enforcement] staff to expand its analysis … to further analyze the harm suffered by customers as a result of the violations,” it said.

The other tipster also prompted an investigation, and provided cooperation that helped the CFTC’s enforcement staff “identify new and productive lines of inquiry.”

“These whistleblowers provided sustained cooperation and support, which helped catch more misconduct and conserve CFTC resources,” said Christina McGlosson, acting director of the regulator’s whistleblower office, in a release.

“Today’s awards show how whistleblowers can act as force multipliers for the CFTC’s enforcement efforts,” she said.

With these latest awards, the CFTC has now paid out almost US$350 million to whistleblowers since issuing its first award in 2014.

In turn, these tips have generated more than US$3 billion in monetary sanctions.

“These awards illustrate the success of our whistleblower program,” said Ian McGinley, director of the CFTC’s enforcement division.

“The program incentivizes whistleblowers like these two to come forward with accurate information, including evidence of ongoing misconduct, to help protect market participants and hold wrongdoers accountable.”