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Insight and commentary on qui tam law in Oregon

Whistleblowers expose crypto fraud

January 3, 2024

Until recently there were only two ways to make money with crypto. The first is buy and hodl bitcoin or ethereum. But mostly bitcoin. The other was to fraudulently boost the price of a token with with some sort of fraudulent activity like a pump and dump scheme, wash trading, or both.


But where there is fraud, there are whistleblowers. Those whistleblowers can now profit from their insider knowledge and commitment to truth and justice.

The CFTC has a whistleblower program.

Crypto is a commodity and the CFTC has a whistleblower program. CFTC pays monetary awards to eligible whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the CFTC with original information about violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) that leads the CFTC to bring a successful enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions exceeding $1,000,000.

Claims such as “risk-free,” “zero risk,” “absolutely safe,” and “guaranteed profit” are hallmarks of fraud.

Other types of misconduct within the scope of the CFTC whistleblower program may include market manipulation, such as pump and dump schemes, misstatements or omissions in required disclosures, sales of unregistered securities, insider trading, Ponzi schemes, and bribery of foreign officials, which may also violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which is within the SEC’s jurisdiction.

The CFTC rewards whistleblowers.

Recently, the CFTC announced whistleblower awards totaling over $15 million to two whistleblowers who provided significant information and assistance that led the CFTC to bring separate successful enforcement actions.

According to the CFTC’s announcement, it received “ongoing support and cooperation” which included:

  • an explanation of the violations;
  • evidence that the conduct was ongoing;
  • an interpretation of key evidence;
  • corroborating evidence with another witness;

Importantly, the whistleblower’s information directly contradicted an explanation Company had provided, and in fact, made more sense than the explanation Company had provided. This led Division staff to expand its analysis of to further analyze the harm suffered by customers as a result of the violations.

If you would like to report crypto or financial fraud , you can contact attorneys at Markowitz Herbold PC. Vivek Kothari is a former federal prosecutor who represents whistleblowers under the False Claims Act. For a free consultation, you can contact Vivek at 503-274-7425 or