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What is the Relator’s Share?

To incentivize whistleblowers to report fraud and assist the Government in prosecuting it, the False Claims Act, guarantees whistleblowers receive at least 15% of any money the Government recovers. A relator receives 15% of the Government’s recovery just by filing a False Claims Act complaint; 15% is the minimum. The maximum a relator can receive is 30%. Where exactly the relator’s share falls on the 15-30% spectrum depends on many factors, the most important of which is whether the Government intervenes in and “takes over” the case or whether the Government declines to intervene and leaves the relator to prosecutes the case alone. If the Government intervenes in the case, an event which happens in approximately 20% cases, the relator is entitled to 15% to 25% of the recovery. If the Government declines to intervene and the relator succeeds in recovering money, the relator is entitled to 25% to 30%.


After the False Claims Act case concludes, the relator and the Government will enter into discussions regarding the portion of the recovery the relator will receive. If the Government and the relator cannot come to an agreement, a judge decides what percentage the relator will get. In practice, the relator's share of the proceeds typically ranges from 18% to 22% for cases in which the Government intervenes, and 27% to 28% for cases in which the Government declines to intervene. The variation from case to case is attributed to the factors the Department of Justice created for recommending relator’s shares. The factors are divided into two categories: factors that increase the ward and factors that decrease the award.

Items to consider for a possible increase in the percentage include:

  • The relator reported the fraud promptly.

  • When he learned of the fraud, the relator tried to stop the fraud or reported it to a supervisor or the Government.

  • The qui tam filing, or the ensuing investigation, caused the offender to halt the fraudulent practices.

  • The complaint warned the Government of a significant safety issue.

  • The complaint exposed a nationwide practice.

  • The relator provided extensive, first-hand details of the fraud to the Government.

  • The Government had no knowledge of the fraud.

  • The relator provided substantial assistance during the investigation and/or pretrial phases of the case.

  • At his deposition and/or trial, the relator was an excellent, credible witness.

  • The relator’s counsel provided substantial assistance to the Government.

  • The relator and his counsel supported and cooperated with the Government during the entire proceeding.

  • The case went to trial.

  • The False Claims Act recovery was relatively small.

  • The filing of the complaint had a substantial adverse impact on the relator.


Items to consider for a possible decrease in the percentage include:

  • The relator participated in the fraud.

  • The relator substantially delayed in reporting the fraud or filing the complaint.

  • The relator, or relator’s counsel, violated False Claims Act procedures:

    • Complaint served on defendant or not filed under seal

    • The relator publicized the case while it was under seal

    • Statement of material facts and evidence not provided

  • The relator had little knowledge of the fraud or only suspicions.

  • The relator’s knowledge was based primarily on public information.

  • The relator learned of the fraud in the course of his Government employment.

  • The Government already knew of the fraud.

  • The relator, or relator’s counsel, did not provide any help after filing the complaint, hampered the Government’s efforts in developing the case, or unreasonably opposed the Government’s positions in litigation.

  • The case required a substantial effort by the Government to develop the facts to win the lawsuit.

  • The case settled shortly after the complaint was filed or with little need for discovery.

  • The False Claims Act recovery was relatively large.

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