CFTC Hands Out a Record $30 Million Award to Alleged JPMorgan Tipster

Few details are available regarding the nature of the underlying facts or enforcement action

The US Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, on Thursday awarded an anonymous whistleblower who had come forward with information leading to an enforcement action with a record bounty. The tipster is getting $30 million, which beats the CFTC’s previous high-water mark for an award made to a single whistleblower which was set by a $10 million payoff in March 2016.

This is also the fifth award that the CFTC has made to a whistleblower since it began making awards four years ago.

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Committed to protecting the anonymity of informants, few details are available regarding the nature of the underlying facts or enforcement action or the identity of the whistleblower. However, previous reports suggested that the record bonus went to a banker who helped the US regulators to open enforcement actions against J.P. Morgan.

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JPMorgan Chase was fined a record $367 million in 2015 for failing to disclose conflicts of interests to clients when it recommended proprietary investment products over third-party options. That included $100 million that went to the CFTC in parallel order, of which the regulator paid out for tips received in the case.

The head of the CFTC’s whistleblower program stated: “The award today is a demonstration of the program’s commitment to reward those who provide quality information to the CFTC. The number of leads the office receives continues to grow each year by the hundreds.  We hope that this award will continue to facilitate the upward momentum and success of the CFTC’s Whistleblower Program by attracting those with knowledge of wrongdoing to come forward.”

Whistleblowing has become a staple of multiple US regulatory regimes, namely those of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the SEC. Both entities have deployed a system of programs and rewards in a bid to help support and streamline investigations.

Whistleblowers who voluntarily provide information to the commission leading to a successful enforcement action of $1 million or more are entitled to between 10 and 30 percent of the money that the SEC recovers from those sanctions.

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