The individual filing a whistleblower or qui tam lawsuit becomes its relator. As noted by Whistleblowers.org, the court uses the term “relator” to identify the original source who revealed the fraudulent activity. If you wish to report fraud committed against a state or the U.S. government, you may become a relator. A successful outcome could enable you to receive a financial award.
The False Claims Act allows relators to sue companies or other parties for defrauding the government. Relators could, for example, file claims for violations such as submitting falsified applications for government loans or contracts. Fraud related to health care may include overcharging patients who receive taxpayer-funded medical services.
As described on the U.S. Department of Justice website, the relator begins the process by confidentially filing a sealed civil complaint in federal court. Relators must also provide a written disclosure that lists the material information and evidence supporting their claims.
The Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney for the filing district need to receive copies of the complaint and written disclosure. The government has 60 days to review the information and decide whether to take over the lawsuit. If the case does not require intervention, it becomes the relator’s responsibility to litigate on behalf of the government.
Gathering substantial evidence
Before filing a qui tam lawsuit, relators compile evidence of fraud or wrongdoing. The U.S. DOJ recommends gathering as much material information as possible; other claims under investigation may contain the same evidence.
If the government does not take over the case, it becomes your duty as the relator to serve and litigate the complaint to the company or parties engaging in misconduct. With ample evidence, relators may assert their cases to the court to hold defendants accountable for their unlawful actions.