Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, federal whistleblower programs continue to receive thousands of tips and issue millions in awards. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) whistleblower program remains very active and over the past year, has awarded its highest whistleblower awards ever. A new Chairman and recent rule changes may lead to even more activity under the SEC’s program. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) whistleblower program, while not as extensive as the SEC’s program, may see an uptick in activity if recent proposed legislation is passed. The government’s False Claims Act (FCA) enforcement continues to be driven by whistleblower reports and COVID-19 related fraud may lead to substantial increases in FCA tips going forward.
In addition, Congress recently repealed and replaced a prior whistleblower program under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) that was largely seen as unsuccessful. Congress also passed the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Rewards Act (KARRA) to fill a perceived gap in the SEC whistleblower program by specifically encouraging whistleblowers who provide information related to foreign government corruption.