On Thursday, December 7, 2023, the Wyoming Supreme Court disbarred Buffalo attorney Tonia R. Hanson for multiple violations of state bar rules.

The case is entitled “Board of Professional Responsibility Wyoming State Bar v. Tonia R. Hanson,” with case no. D-23-005.

The court’s order stems from a hearing held by the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) regarding two complaints filed against Hanson. After finding evidence of wrongdoing, the BPR issued a report on October 27, 2023, recommending Hanson’s disbarment. The complaints centered around Hanson’s handling of two estates and a guardianship case between 2015 and 2019. In its report, the BPR detailed how Hanson allegedly misused client funds, failed to properly maintain her trust account, made false statements to courts, and breached her fiduciary duties to clients.

Specifically, the report claimed Hanson improperly sold off property from an elderly client’s estate and concealed the full sale amounts from the court. She was also accused of converting $12,000 meant for a client’s guardianship to pay her legal fees. In addition, Hanson reportedly mishandled the estates of two deceased clients, Edith Sarver and Warren Buxton. This included transferring hundreds of thousands from Sarver’s accounts without authorization and failing to properly account for funds and assets from Buxton’s estate.

Hanson did not contest the BPR’s findings and the Supreme Court issued an order on December 7, 2023, formally disbarring her. The order requires Hanson to pay over $4,128.99 in costs to the state bar as well as $40,000 in restitution to the Wyoming Community Foundation, one of the affected non-profit organizations.

The Disposition states:

“ADJUDGED AND ORDERED that the Board of Professional Responsibility’s Report and Recommendation, which is attached hereto and incorporated herein, shall be, and the same hereby is, approved, confirmed, and adopted by this Court; and it is further, ADJUDGED AND ordered that, as a result of the conduct set forth in the report and Recommendation, Respondent Tonia R. Hanson shall be, and hereby is, disbarred, effective immediately.”

According to avvo.com, Ms. Hanson was an attorney in Buffalo, Wyoming. He acquired his law license in Wyoming in 2004.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.