A qui tam lawsuit under the FCA is filed “under seal” in federal court. Once filed, but before the named defendant is notified, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) must be informed and provided with all available information about the fraud in question. The case remains “under seal” while the government investigates, which can last anywhere from 60 days to several years. Upon completing its investigation, the DOJ has the option of intervening and taking over prosecution of the lawsuit from the qui tam plaintiff. A qui tam plaintiff’s share of any ultimate recovery depends on whether or not the DOJ chooses to intervene. If the DOJ takes over, the qui tam plaintiff is entitled to between 15% and 25% of the recovery. If the Justice Department does not intervene, and the qui tam plaintiff pursues the action individually, the qui tam plaintiff is entitled to between 25% and 30% of the recovery. In some cases the qui tam plaintiff’s share can amount to many millions of dollars. The law also states that a liable defendant must pay three times the government’s losses plus a fine for each false claim. When settling a case under the FCA, the government often agrees to accept two to three times the amount of the damages suffered by the government and typically forgoes any additional fines. The defendant also must pay the fees and the case-related expenses of the qui tam plaintiff’s legal counsel.