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Evanston Attorney Disbarred

CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Supreme Court today issued an Order of Disbarment of Evanston attorney Thomas E. Barnes, effective immediately.

While he was employed as a deputy county attorney, Barnes presented forged paperwork to the county clerk in order to minimize the sales tax on two motorcycles he had purchased. When the fraud was discovered, Barnes was charged with two felony counts of forgery. Barnes entered into a plea agreement for one count of felony forgery, and received two years of unsupervised probation as a first offender. Upon Barnes' satisfactory compliance with the terms of his sentence, the criminal charges may be dismissed.

Following an investigation by Bar Counsel, disciplinary charges were filed. The Board of Professional Responsibility found that Barnes had violated Rules 8.4(b) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects), 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation), and 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct. The BPR recommended Barnes' disbarment, with a provision that Barnes be allowed to petition for reinstatement following the dismissal of the pending criminal matter, but in no event less than two years from the date of the Order of Disbarment. The Wyoming Supreme Court approved the BPR's recommendation, and ordered Barnes to reimburse the Wyoming State Bar for costs and an administrative fee totaling $1,001.65.