In certain instances when a private citizen (such as a whistleblower) assists the government in prosecuting criminal wrongdoing, the individual may be entitled to a share of any penalties that the wrongdoer pays in punishment. This concept is known as "qui tam" and in the United States is commonly used in connection with the False Claims Act (also known as the "Lincoln law"), which allows individuals to file claims against federal contractors that are allegedly breaking the law. If you know that the government is being defrauded, talk to qui tam attorneys immediately. Only the first person to take action is entitled to compensation, so time is of the essence. Qui tam lawyers can work with you to collect the necessary evidence and file a claim. If successful, you may be entitled to between 15 and 30 percent of any money that's recovered.