2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

During its 22nd Annual Conference, Taxpayers Against Fraud bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award to Marlan Wilbanks, a founding partner of Wilbanks & Gouinlock LLP located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The award recognizes an individual who achieved outstanding results, overcome especially challenging circumstances, and/or brought change to an industry because of their incredible efforts throughout their lifetime.

Below are photos from the award ceremony and more information about the accomplishments of Marlan.

Left to right: Elaine Stromgren, Marlan Wilbanks, and Susan Gouinlock
Marlan’s Accomplishments Throughout His Career

Marlan Wilbanks has dedicated his career to combating fraud against the government. Marlan has been practicing exclusively in this area of law since 1997 when he filed his first FCA case. Since that time, he consistently has obtained successful outcomes for his clients and the government as demonstrated by the long list of recoveries obtained by him and his colleagues at Wilbanks Gouinlock.

Marlan and his team have developed a reputation for taking declined cases forward and achieving successful results, and Marlan has been a leader in creating the paradigm shift which has contributed to the relator’s bar’s willingness to pursue cases even without government intervention. Perhaps most notably, in 2015, he obtained an impressive $450 million recovery in the non-intervened case against Davita. That was a record recovery on a nonintervened case which impacted the way our bar views these cases.

Marlan has also been a pioneer in developing good case law for relators in litigated matters. He and his firm have litigated attorney privilege matters and have expanded the law with regard to the use of the crime-fraud exception to gain access to critical evidence. In addition, Marlan has helped the relator’s bar by building a positive rapport with attorneys for the states and the Department of Justice. He has relied on his relationships and experience to further the goals and effectiveness of the FCA by repeatedly lobbying with the top brass at DOJ and by speaking at more than 75 conferences across the country to promote the utility and value of the FCA.

Marlan has been an important supporter of TAF and goes out of his way to assist other relator’s counsel by providing valuable insights based on his years of experience. He has devoted countless hours to the detailed explanations of tough legal issues, both on the listserv and one-on-one with the membership (and staff!).

Marlan has incentivized integrity not only through his work as an FCA attorney but also through his work in the community and with charitable organizations. He is the Chairman of the Board for Hope Thrives, an organization that provides free services to victims of child sexual abuse, including counseling and retreats for survivors of abuse. Three years ago, Marlan founded the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic, which is a first of its kind in the nation. The University of Georgia School of Law operates the clinic which provides free legal services to the victims of child sexual abuse and their families. The clinic also trains prosecutors and judges with regard to the handling of child sexual abuse cases. Marlan also mentors and teaches classes on the FCA at Georgia State and University of Georgia Law School. Marlan also funds an orphanage and school in the Guntar region of India that serves 100 children.

Helping those in need and protecting those who have been harmed and abused are central qualities in being both a whistleblower attorney and a legal advocate for victims of child abuse. Marlan has dedicated his life and his career to fulfilling both of these roles with integrity. For these reasons, TAF is honored to give Marlan Wilbanks TAF’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Award Nomination Process

The Lifetime Achievement Award and others are nominated by the general membership of TAF.

Once submitted, the TAF Conference & Member Education Committee deliberate and vote on award recipients.