CFTC Whistleblower Alert: Blow the Whistle on Romance Investment Frauds in the Commodities and Derivatives Markets
Under the Whistleblower Program of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), individuals may become eligible for both financial awards and certain protections by assisting the CFTC with identifying perpetrators and facilitators of romance investment frauds under the CFTC’s jurisdiction, such as solicitations related to digital assets, precious metals, and/or over-the-counter foreign currency exchange (forex) trading.
What are romance investment frauds?
Romance investment frauds most frequently start out via approaches on social media or dating apps. Once a relationship of trust has been established, the fraudster convinces the victim to invest with unregistered offshore forex, precious metals, and/or cryptocurrency dealers, which the “love interest” knows are actually investment frauds. These scams defraud individuals of hundreds of millions of dollars a year worldwide.1
What types of information will help the CFTC?
This alert is soliciting information from anyone who can provide the CFTC with helpful information, such as:
- Names and addresses of perpetrators of this fraud who are in the United States, including organizers, money mules, technology providers, potentially complicit bank employees, and others who facilitate or help facilitate the fraud; and
- Information as to where and how the money collected from victims is stored in the United States, such as U.S.-based digital asset exchanges and U.S. bank account information.
Such information may also be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at https://www.ic3.gov
What can you do if you suspect misconduct?
The Whistleblower Rules define a whistleblower as one or
more individuals; a company or another entity cannot
meet the definition.
If you see something suspicious, you can
- Complete a Form TCR (Tip, Complaint, Referral) correctly and as completely as possible
- Provide details that are specific, credible, and timely
- Include as much information about the misconduct as possible – e.g., price effect or intent
- Attach supporting documents or files to your Form TCR, as long as they are not protected by the attorney-client privilege
- Supplement your Form TCR filing with any additional information via mail, fax, or email
- Consider also filing your tip with the FBI or other regulators.
About the CFTC
The mission of the CFTC is to promote the integrity, resilience, and vibrancy of the U.S. derivatives markets through sound regulation.
About the Whistleblower Program
We will pay monetary awards to eligible persons who voluntarily provide us with original information on a Form TCR about potential violations of the CEA or its rules, if that information leads to a successful CFTC enforcement action resulting in more than $1 million in monetary sanctions. The program also affords certain confidentiality and anti-retaliation protections.
For more information go to: www.whistleblower.gov
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
1 In 2021, the FBI received reports from 24,299 victims who experienced more than $956 million in losses. Internet Crime Complaint Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internet Crime Report 12 (2021), available at https://www.ic3.gov/Media/PDF/AnnualReport/2021_IC3Report.pdf
This article was prepared by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Whistleblower Office. This article is provided for general informational purposes only and does not provide legal or investment advice to any individual or entity. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party in any matter, civil or criminal. Please consult with your own legal adviser before taking any action based on this information. Please note that the above list of relevant types of misconduct is not exhaustive.