A Virginia lawyer who once received $20,000 from Ellen DeGeneres when she was a law student, has been accused of providing drugs to an inmate and having sex with an inmate.
Dana Tapper, 30, has been charged with providing a prisoner with a cell phone, providing a prisoner with drugs, and distribution of a controlled substance. There were two incidents in which she allegedly gave an inmate a cell phone on December 7, 2017, and then gave him drugs five days later.
One source claims Tapper visited the inmate hundreds of times at the Riverside Regional Jail to smuggle drugs and have sex with him in prison. The inmate’s name has not been released and it has not been revealed what drugs she allegedly brought into the prison or how they were smuggled.
In 2013, Ellen DeGeneres invited Tapper to the show after her friend wrote a letter about her work with troubled low-income children. Tapper was a law student at the University of Virginia at the time.
‘Most law students are lured in by promises of large corporate salaries to help pay off their debt,’ the letter, obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, read.
‘But Dana has been steadfast in her commitment to helping those less fortunate.’ During her appearance on the show, Tapper told DeGeneres that she was the first person in her family to go to college.
She also talked of her dreams to help those in the juvenile justice system. ‘The only reason I went to law school was to work with kids,’ she told the host.
DeGeneres then surprised Tapper with a $20,000 gift donated from online photo service Shutterfly.
Tapper was not an attorney for the inmate. Records show that she has a history of visiting prisoners that she does not represent.
The 30-year-old Richmond lawyer visited inmate Karon Porter 38 times at Riverside Regional Jail during the span of a year-and-a-half. Porter was later found guilty of leading state police on a 2013 high-speed chase. He had crashed into a car and killed a 73-year-old Marine veteran.
Tapper will go on trial in August and also faces a bar hearing for “misconduct” in June. She remains an attorney in good standing with an active law license.