CHARLESTON – Like the star wide receiver he used to represent, a disbarred Charleston attorney is attempting a comeback.
Louis Dante DiTrapano has petitioned the state Supreme Court for reinstatement of his law license. Six years ago, the count yanked it following multiple criminal charges filed against DiTrapano, 50, starting with cocaine possession in Florida.
According to court records, DiTrapano was arrested on March 14, 2006 in St. Petersburg while preparing to undergo rehabilitation for his relapse into drug addiction. After being clean for more than 15 years, DiTrapano became addicted to cough syrup in 2004, which over the next year led to him abusing oxycodone and crack cocaine following the death of friend’s six-year old son in DiTrapano’s pool.
After posting bond on the condition he report to the treatment center, DiTrapano was arrested a month later in DeKalb County, Ga., on charges of driving on a suspended license, public indecency and possession of cocaine. He was released after posting bond.
Two months later, DiTrapano was indicted by a federal grand jury in Charleston on firearms-related charges. Following his arrest a day later, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary E. Stanley ordered he remain in custody pending trial.
After pleading guilty to the top count, Judge David Faber released DiTrapano on bond pending sentencing. As a condition of his bond, Faber order DiTrapano to begin a 28-day in-house drug treatment program at Prestera in Huntington.
Records show a month later, DiTrapano again appeared before Stanley following his arrest on unspecified violations of the terms of his home confinement. On Sept. 8, 2006, Faber ordered DiTrapano remain in custody pending sentencing.
Later on Oct. 10, Faber sentenced DiTrapano to six months in prison, and three years of supervised release. The terms of his release included DiTrapano’s participation in a substance abuse program.
Following his arrest on April 1, 2007, on simple possession of methamphetamine, the U.S. Probation Office asked that DiTrapano’s supervised release be revoked. Two weeks later, USPO amended its revocation petition, stating that DiTrapano failed to appear for a scheduled urinalysis on April 5 and a specimen he provided on April 10 tested positive for cocaine and morphine.
According to court records, Faber on April 18, 2007, granted USPO’s petition and ordered DiTrapano sentenced to 24 months in prison without any supervised release.
Three weeks after Faber sentenced DiTrapano to prison, the court annulled his license. Georgia’s high court followed suit and disbarred him.
More than two years later, DiTrapano was indicted on a count of information for making a false statement on loan application to United Bank.
According to court records, DiTrapano and another unnamed person sought a loan for $500,000 for a project in Kanawha City. In the loan paperwork, DiTrapano allegedly represented the co-signer personally signed the documents when in fact he forged it.
After receiving the funds, the indictment alleged DiTrapano took $35,000 and deposited it into his personal checking account and used for “non-loan-related purposes.” After pleading guilty to the charge the previous August, DiTrapano on Jan. 14, 2010, was sentenced to one day in prison and five years supervised release.
As a condition of his release, DiTrapano was ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service.
Though he successfully performed the community service, which included participating in the state Bar’s Lawyers Assistance Program, DiTrapano’s petition for early termination of supervised release was denied in September. However, the court a month later agreed to entertain his motion for reinstatement of his license.
When he was first arrested in 2006, DiTrapano was one of the agents for Randy Moss, a native of Rand who played for Marshall University and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy along with teammate Chad Pennington. Moss was the Minnesota Vikings’ first-round pick after leaving Marshall.
They signed him to four-year, $4.5 million contract which included a $2 million signing bonus.
For the next 14 seasons, Moss played for three other teams, including the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans before retiring at the conclusion of the 2010-2011 season. However, last season he returned to pro football after signing a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
Last month, Moss played in his second Super Bowl, the first being with New England in Super Bowl XLII in 2008. Currently, he holds second place on the NFL’s list of all-time regular season touchdowns behind Jerry Rice, a Hall of Fame inductee, and former 49er and Raider.
After news broke of his arrest for cocaine possession, Moss dropped DiTrapano as his agent. Though he kept Tim DiPiero, one of DiTrapano’s partners at the Charleston law firm of DiTrapano, Barrett and DiPiero, as his agent, Moss later dropped him in 2010.
Two days of hearings are scheduled on DiTrapano’s petition for reinstatement. The first is scheduled for March 27 with the second on April 17.
Both will take place at the Office of Disciplinary Counsel’s office on the 12th floor of the City Center East building in Kanawha City.
The hearings are open to the public.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, case number 12-0677