We here at Bracker & Marcus try to remind people that the False Claims Act is just one qui tam whistleblower statute that we practice under. Unfortunately, the IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower statutes get short shrift simply because there aren’t very many cases, few people understand SEC or CFTC regulations, the statutes have “minimum damages” requirements to bring an action, and a very small percentage of prosecutions under these statutes are successful.
Proving that point to some extent, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced that it will make its second ever award under the CFTC Whistleblower Act, totaling approximately $290,000 for providing valuable information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. The first award was made in May 2014 for $240,000.
Although these initial awards are relatively small, there is no question that larger rewards are in the statute’s future.
In the classic 1983 movie Trading Places, brothers Mortimer and Randolph Duke’s plan was to obtain a confidential Department of Agriculture “crop report” and use that advance knowledge to manipulate the market for frozen orange juice. Until recently, that was completely legal! Finally, in 2010, Congress passed the “Eddie Murphy Rule,” banning insider trading using nonpublic information acquired from a government source. Today, rather than commit insider trading themselves, Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd might consider being whistleblowers! Here’s how we like to imagine our clients after a successful case:
Bracker & Marcus was not a part of this case, but it does represent individual plaintiffs in both qui tam and retaliation actions under the CFTC Whistleblower Statute.