CFTC collected over $1.3B in penalties this year; the fourth-highest total in its history

Quick Take

  • The U.S. CFTC has collected over $1.3 billion in regulatory penalties in the fiscal year 2019
  • The figure is 40% more than the FY2018 amount, and fourth-highest total in its history 
  • The SEC, on the other hand, collected over $4.3 billion in penalties in 2019

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the country's derivatives regulator, has collected over $1.3 billion in regulatory penalties in the fiscal year 2019, which ended on Sept. 30.

The figure is nearly 40% more than the FY2018 figure of around $947 million, according to the CFTC Division of Enforcement’s annual report released Monday. The regulator brought 69 actions during FY 2019, a slight increase over the average of 67.5 for the previous five fiscal years.

The CFTC said the amount collected of over $1.3 billion this year is the fourth-highest total in its history.

Source: CFTC
“The breadth and significance of the enforcement activity in FY 2019 is reflected in the fact that the filed cases involved some of the most significant commodities fraud, manipulation, and spoofing cases in the history of the agency,” said James McDonald, director of enforcement at the CFTC.

Crypto actions? 

While the regulator did not delineate the amount collected specifically from cryptocurrency firms, it noted several related actions involving millions of dollars. These include charges against a crypto escrow firm's chief; bitcoin trading firm Control-Finance; a Chicago trader; and CabbageTech Co, among others. 

“The CFTC will continue to work to hold fraudsters accountable, and where appropriate, operate in parallel with our criminal law enforcement colleagues,” said McDonald.

In July, the CFTC appointed Heath P. Tarbert as chairman and since then the regulator has filed 48 enforcement actions from July 15 through Sept. 30 (nearly 70% of the actions for FY2019).

“Tough, but fair – that’s been our response to those who break the rules,” said Tarbert, adding: “A strong enforcement program is about preserving market integrity, protecting consumers, and deterring misconduct from taking place."

The CFTC’s collected amount of $1.3 billion is less than the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which collected more than $4.3 billion in disgorgement and penalties in 2019.

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