IN THE MATTER OF IAN CHRISTOPHERSON, An Attorney at Law, Respondent.
File No. 18-066
Michael W. Cotter Chief Disciplinary Counsel Office of
RULE 8.4(B), MRPC, RULE 8A(3), MRLDE, RULE 23C,
Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the State of Montana
("ODC") charges Ian Christopherson with
professional misconduct as follows.
Christopherson ("Christopherson") was admitted to
the practice of law in the State of Montana in 1979, at which
time he took the oath required for admission, wherein he
agreed to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct, the
Disciplinary Rules adopted by the Montana Supreme Court, and
the highest standards of honesty, justice and morality,
including, but not limited to, those outlined in parts 3 and
4 of Chapter 61, Title 37, Montana Code Annotated.
Montana Supreme Court has approved and adopted the Montana
Rules of Professional Conduct ("MRPC"), governing
the ethical conduct of attorneys licensed to practice in the
State of Montana, which Rules were in effect at all times
mentioned in this Complaint.
Order filed May 29, 2018 (attached as Exhibit 1), the Montana
Supreme Court, pursuant to Rule 23B, MRLDE (2018), determined
that Christopherson's convictions of two counts of felony
tax evasion affect his ability to practice law. The Court
ordered that Christopherson be placed on interim suspension
from the practice of law effective immediately and pending
final disposition of a disciplinary proceeding predicated
upon the September 23, 2011 convictions of two counts of
felony tax evasion. The Court directed ODC to promptly
prepare and file a formal complaint against Christopherson
based on the felony convictions.
Based on information and belief, Christopherson has not
practiced law since his sentencing in federal court, which
occurred on December 17, 2012. On July 3, 2013, the Montana
State Bar suspended Christopherson for non-payment of dues
and his license to practice law has remained in a suspended
status since that time.
September 23, 2011, Christopherson was convicted by jury of
two counts of felony tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C.
§ 7201, in the United States District Court, District of
Nevada. Following trial and prior to sentencing, a
Presentence Investigation Report was ordered, but it is not
available to ODC at this time. Judgment was entered December
17, 2012, followed by an Amended Judgment dated May 5, 2014.
(Exhibits 2 and 3). On December 17, 2012, the United States
District Court for the District of Nevada sentenced
Christopherson to certain terms and conditions, including but
not limited to the following:
a. He was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison with 3
years of supervised release on each count to be served
b. He was ordered to pay a $200 fine and restitution to the
Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $728, 786.14.
c. The standard conditions of supervision were imposed as
well as special conditions of supervision. The special
conditions included, in part:
1. You shall be prohibited from incurring new credit charges,
opening additional lines of credit, or negotiating or
consummating any financial contracts without the approval of
the probation officer.
2. You shall provide the probation officer access to any
requested financial information, including personal income
tax returns, authorization for release of credit information,
and any other business financial information in which you
have a control or interest.
3. You shall cooperate and arrange with the Internal Revenue
Service to pay all past and present taxes, interest, and
penalties owed. You shall file timely, accurate, and lawful
income tax returns and ...