Special Report

Worst Corruption Scandal in Each State

Source: Joe Spurr / Flickr

21. Massachusetts
> Scandal: Drug lab scandal
> Year: 2012

More than 21,000 drug convictions in Massachusetts were tossed out because of evidence tainted by a chemist. Annie Dookhan worked at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory in Boston and was accused of falsifying test results in 2012. She was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, perjury, and tampering evidence.

Source: Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images

22. Michigan
> Scandal: Flint water crisis
> Year: 2014

The Flint water crisis broke in April 2014 and exposed leadership incompetence from the governor’s office to the city’s managers as well as the supervisors at agencies tasked to oversee the city’s drinking water. The crisis began when financially strapped Flint switched its water source to the Flint River from Detroit to save money. In doing so, the city failed to include anti-corrosives to the water, which resulted in a jump in the amount of lead in the water to very high and dangerous levels. Thousands of Flint residents were exposed. A deluge of lawsuits and criminal charges followed after the crisis developed. Researchers from Kansas University and West Virginia University who studied the water crisis found a drop in pregnancies and a surge in fetal deaths among Flint women.

Source: Courtesy of Petters Group Worldwide

23. Minnesota
> Scandal: Executive Tom Petters in Ponzi scheme
> Year: 2009

Hedge-fund honcho Tom Petters, whose personal worth was once valued at $1 billion, appeared to be a Minnesota boy made good. Apparently, it was too good. Petters was found guilty of mail and wire fraud for operating a $3.7 billion Ponzi scheme that victimized more than 250 people. He is serving a 50-year prison term, the longest ever imposed in a financial fraud case in Minnesota.

Source: Getty Images / Stuart Ramson

24. Mississippi
> Scandal: Worldcom accounting scandal
> Year: 2002

The accounting scandal at telecommunications company WorldCom was one the largest in American corporate history when it was disclosed in 2002, and it led to the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. The company, at one time the nation’s second-largest long-distance phone company, inflated assets by as much as $11 billion. Worldcom’s implosion cost 30,000 people their jobs and investors $180 billion. Bernard Ebbers, the former WorldCom chief executive officer, got a 25-year sentence for conspiracy and filing false documents. WorldCom was one of several high-profile corporate corruption cases of the last 25 years, along with Enron, Tyco, and Adelphia.

Source: Craig Barritt / Getty Images

25. Missouri
> Scandal: Gov. Eric Greitens blackmail scandal
> Year: 2018

The ongoing scandal involving Gov. Eric Greitens, who was considered one of the rising stars in the Republican Party, is among the sleaziest in recent memory. Last month, Missouri’s governor was indicted on a felony charge of invasion of privacy. Greitens is accused of surreptitiously taking nude photos of a woman with whom he was having an affair and of threatening to publicly reveal the photos to try and keep her silent. On March 26, a judge rejected a bid by Greitens’ legal team for a trial by judge and not jury in the invasion of privacy case.