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What is a qui tam whistleblower case?

A “qui tam” case is a lawsuit brought by a private person, but on behalf of the government, under the federal False Claims Act or similar state laws. Under the False Claims Act, the private person who brings the lawsuit is known as a “relator.” Informally, the term “whistleblower” is often used, although that is a broader term that has meanings outside of the False Claims Act as well. If the government recovers money as a result of the qui tam lawsuit, then the relator is rewarded with a share of the recovered money (between 15% and 30%). The rest goes to the government.