galleryThe Most Corrupt States05.09.10galleryThe Most Corrupt StatesAs money pours into the Gulf, The Daily Beast crunches the numbers, from public embezzlement to private sector fraud, for all 50 states to rank which play dirty—and which have cleaned up their act.05.09.10 6:18 PM ET#1, TennesseePublic Corruption: 18 Racketeering & Extortion: 11 Fraud Rank: 7 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 5 Embezzlement: 9 Recent Scandal: Here's a foolproof recipe for corruption: a former policeman commingling with gang members. Milburn Williams, a retired police captain from Newport, ringleaders Raymond Hawk and Grant Williams, and 20 others were indicted on racketeering, drug trafficking and a slew of other charges last year in Greeneville. The sting operation was headed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and centered around a chop shop called "H-1 Auto", later renamed "A Automotive." For six years the chop shop was the command post for an operation that allegedly moved stolen property and goods across state lines and sold cocaine and marijuana. The most serious of the charges carry up to $2 million in fines and 40 years in prison.#2, VirginiaPublic Corruption: 14 Racketeering & Extortion: 9 Fraud Rank: 9 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 18 Embezzlement: 5 Recent Scandal: Iris F. Allen, a former claims managers at the Virginia Birth Injury Fund—created in 1987 to provide lifetime medical benefits to babies with born with severe neurological problems—concocted one of the oldest embezzlement schemes in the book. She created two phony companies and had the BIF solicit her companies for services without disclosing she was the owner. For five years Allen submitted fake or inflated invoices, netting $784,000. She pled guilty to the scheme in February and could get up to 10 years in jail when she is sentenced later in May.Rogelio V. Solis / AP Photo#3, MississippiPublic Corruption: 5 Racketeering & Extortion: 17 Fraud Rank: 22 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 16 Embezzlement: 3 Recent Scandal: The man who put Medgar Evers' killer behind bars in 1994 is now a convicted felon. Attorney Bobby DeLaughter constructed an airtight case against Evers' murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, and was rewarded in 2002 when he became a state judge. But in a case of misplaced trust several years later, DeLaughter lied to a federal agent investigating corrupt attorney Dickie Scruggs, who had paid a friend of DeLaughter's $1 million to influence a case. DeLaughter denied ever taking any money, or being influenced by his friend, but pled guilty to obstruction of justice. "The man has now been destroyed, politically and economically. It's that serious," said Medgar Evars' brother Charles.#4, DelawarePublic Corruption: 9 Racketeering & Extortion: 51 Fraud Rank: 4 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 1 Embezzlement: 1 Recent Scandal: Carlene Lloyd and her husband Richard aren't exactly a modern Bonnie and Clyde, but they ended up with way more money than the infamous bank robbers ever did. Carlene and Richard embezzled $220,597.72 from New Castle-based Drywall Inc., where the duo worked. Carlene, working as the office manager, printed payroll checks which were deposited by the couple and later deleted from the company's database. Both are staring down the barrel of felony theft, forgery, and conspiracy charges.#5, North CarolinaPublic Corruption: 36 Racketeering & Extortion: 22 Fraud Rank: 1 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 7 Embezzlement: 2 Recent Scandal: Kalu Kalu and Martin Ifeani Iroegbu of Raleigh netted more than $12 million in a Medicare fraud scheme, but they acted more like old-time grifters than seasoned criminals. The team, doing business with legitimate-sounding company names like Enuda Healthsource and Universal Medical Supply, would give presentations at homes and churches, obtain Medicare numbers of unsuspecting patients, and then send prescriptions for unnecessary medical equipment to patients' physicians for signature. The physicians would often nullify entire prescriptions, but the grifters charged Medicare for the medical equipment anyway. Kalu was sentenced in March to 90 days in jail and was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution.#6, FloridaPublic Corruption: 12 Racketeering & Extortion: 6 Fraud Rank: 17 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 21 Embezzlement: 13 Recent Scandal: In Florida, one recent Medicare fraud case soars to new heights. By all appearances Ihosvany Marquez was a legitimate businessman interested in community health, running eight health clinics in Miami and Orange County. But each clinic, in fact, had a fake owner who would sign for fraudulent charges for expensive treatments such as infusion therapy and injection therapy. Marquez then laundered the money through a car dealership and check cashing stores, to the tune of $61 million in total claims. Marquez used his windfall to live the high life, buying luxury cars, including a Lamborghini Gallardo, investing in racehorses and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry.#7, NevadaPublic Corruption: 39 Racketeering & Extortion: 4 Fraud Rank: 10 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 19 Embezzlement: 4 Recent Scandal: Longtime North Las Vegas Councilman William Robinson was caught in the corruption web last year when it was revealed the FBI investigated him for taking bribes in the 1990s. A local businessman says he introduced Robinson to an undercover FBI agent posing as a mobster from Detroit. Robinson allegedly agreed to push for a rezoning measure so the mob could build a new casino in exchange for cash. "The FBI wanted it clear that in exchange for the money he was being paid, that they bought his vote, which he admitted, ‘You have my vote," the businessman said. Despite transcripts of the conversations, Robinson has vehemently denied the allegations and charges were never brought.George Widman / AP Photo#8, PennsylvaniaPublic Corruption: 15 Racketeering & Extortion: 7 Fraud Rank: 16 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 27 Embezzlement: 27 Recent Scandal: A bug found in 2003 in the office of then-Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street was the tip of a secret FBI corruption investigation that ultimately netted the conviction of city treasurer Corey Kemp on charges of conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion. Kemp left office just a year and a half after he was appointed by Street and was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in 2005. "I think I'm smarter, wiser," Kemp said from prison. "I'm definitely more focused.#9, South CarolinaPublic Corruption: 42 Racketeering & Extortion: 14 Fraud Rank: 3 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 20 Embezzlement: 14 Recent Scandal: Former Union County Tax Assessor Willie E. Randall, Jr. pled guilty in January to a range of corruption charges. His crime plan, which involved money laundering, extortion and bribery, allowed the tax assessor's office to keep track of a lot more than old receipts. Cocaine and hydrocodone were stored and distributed out of the office, and Randall faces 190 years in jail and $5.25 million in fines.AP Photo#10, OklahomaPublic Corruption: 21 Racketeering & Extortion: 26 Fraud Rank: 18 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 23 Embezzlement: 6 Recent Scandal: Merry Christmas indeed. A Texas-based businessman sent former Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher an envelope that said "Merry Christmas" and, surprise, surprise, a hefty check was nestled inside. Fisher characterized the check as a loan, but investigators didn't see it that way. Prosecutors didn't have enough evidence to saddle Fisher with a bribery conviction, but Fisher did plead no contest in February 2009 to operating an illegal charity and misuse of early education funds. The judge went easy on him, sentencing 6 months in a private correctional facility at Fisher's expense, because Fisher had already served 14 months on a campaign corruption conviction. "This is a man who has been very much humbled by what he’s experienced,” his attorney said.#11, GeorgiaPublic Corruption: 38 Racketeering & Extortion: 16 Fraud Rank: 12 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 12 Embezzlement: 29 Recent Scandal: It's not often that a carpet maker gets charged with racketeering, but that's what happened to Mohawk Industries Inc., one of the biggest in the world. The company settled in April for $18 million to resolve allegations from employees they had hired undocumented immigrants to suppress wages. An appeals court decided the company could be charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act because they had allegedly conspired with employment agencies to hire the undocumented workers. Mohawk did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.Butch Dill / AP Photo#12, AlabamaPublic Corruption: 10 Racketeering & Extortion: 39 Fraud Rank: 6 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 8 Embezzlement: 45 Recent Scandal: Disgraced former Birmingham mayor Larry Langford was found guilty on 60—count 'em—various counts of corruption last October. The charges stem from Langford soliciting and accepting $236,000 in cash, clothes, and jewelry from lobbyist Al LaPierre and businessman Bill Blount. "We all have our trials, this too will pass," Langford said outside the courtroom just after the conviction was announced. Perhaps, in time. Langford was sentenced to 15 years behind bars in March.#13, TexasPublic Corruption: 27 Racketeering & Extortion: 15 Fraud Rank: 21 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 14 Embezzlement: 31 Recent Scandal: In February Jibreel A. Rashad of Dallas became one of the final defendants to be convicted in a corruption probe, including a former Mayor Pro Tem and 12 other public officials, that blurred the boundaries of public and private enterprises. Rashad formed a phony construction company in 2004 and partnered with the elected officials to shake down a low-income housing developer, James R. “Bill” Fisher, into accepting contracts from Rashad's unqualified company. When Fisher refused, city bigwigs delayed Fisher's rezoning bid application. Rashad was convicted of conspiracy to commit extortion.#14, ArkansasPublic Corruption: 26 Racketeering & Extortion: 36 Fraud Rank: 2 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 3 Embezzlement: 43 Recent Scandal: A former North Little Rock alderman is in hot water with the feds, but he may have an out. Investigators have charged that Cary Gaines conspired to have a contractor obtain city contracts which would have provided kickbacks to a reputed member of the mafia to whom Gaines owed money. But the case is in limbo as Gaines claims key evidence was obtained through an illegal wiretap. "All wiretap communications relating to Gaines should be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree because they were unlawfully intercepted,” Gaines' lawyer wrote.#15, MissouriPublic Corruption: 24 Racketeering & Extortion: 25 Fraud Rank: 24 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 6 Embezzlement: 34 Recent Scandal: For such a simple scheme, it's amazing that Denny Ray Hardin of Kansas City got as far as he did. Hardin allegedly used his home computer to concoct bonded promissory notes he said were authorized by the US Department of Treasury. The notes were, Hardin claimed, as good as money. Problem is, there's no such thing as a bonded promissory note, and, as such, they were not authorized by the US Department of Treasury. Hardin doled out $100 million worth of the notes to friends, family, and customers who paid $100 per note. He faces 11 counts of fictitious obligations and 10 counts of mail fraud.#16, HawaiiPublic Corruption: 19 Racketeering & Extortion: 3 Fraud Rank: 43 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 25 Embezzlement: 23 Recent Scandal: A rash of counterfeit $100 bills went into circulation in the summer of 2007 in Hawaii. The bills had been made by Bloods and Crips in California using copy machines estimated to cost up to $100,000, which then found their way into the Aloha State. All stripe of businesses were found to have the fake bills, "from fast-food places to high-end stores," US Secret Service agent Albert Joaquin told the Honolulu Advertiser. In an apparently unrelated counterfeiting scheme, three people from 'Aiea were charged with using bleach and a printer to transform $1 bills into $100 bills.#17, South DakotaPublic Corruption: 7 Racketeering & Extortion: 29 Fraud Rank: 13 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 45 Embezzlement: 21 Recent Scandal: Three Sioux Falls farmers were charged in 2008 with defrauding the Farm Service Agency of $381,000 from 2003 to 2005. The men operated only one farm, but created several alternate names to collect extra taxpayer funds. "The payments don't come in those big amounts," Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey C. Clapper told The Daily Republic of Mitchell, South Dakota. "They come in little payments at a time and the indictment just shows a few of those amounts in the wire fraud and money laundering portion of the indictment."#18, WisconsinPublic Corruption: 35 Racketeering & Extortion: 33 Fraud Rank: 8 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 15 Embezzlement: 25 Recent Scandal: A former vice president of the publicly traded Koss Corporation was accused in January of defrauding the company of $31 million. Sujata Sachdeva wired money directly from Koss' bank accounts to pay for credit card bills, a 2007 Mercedes Benz, clothing, jewelry, a time-share at a resort and other personal items. “This case is one of the largest embezzlement cases ever brought in this district," US Attorney James L. Santelle said. Sachdeva could get up to 120 years in jail if convicted on all counts.Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo#19, LouisianaPublic Corruption: 4 Racketeering & Extortion: 27 Fraud Rank: 29 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 28 Embezzlement: 28 Recent Scandal: Thirteen years for 11 counts. Former Congressman William J. Jefferson got 13 years in prison in November 2009 for the myriad corruption charges he was convicted of in August 2009. Jefferson used his political muscle to promote telecommunications, oil and other business interests in Nigeria, Ghana and other parts of Africa. In return he netted hundreds of thousands of dollars, stock options, and gifts for family members. Jefferson is 62 and may spend the rest of his life in prison.#20, ArizonaPublic Corruption: 31 Racketeering & Extortion: 24 Fraud Rank: 40 Forgery & Counterfeiting: 4 Embezzlement: 19 Recent Scandal: Banks in Phoenix lost $9 million from 2005 to 2007 to a mortgage fraud scheme perpetrated by a Haitan national. Mario G. Bernadel got 17 years for instructing unqualified applicants to lie and obtain home loans they couldn't repay, submitting his own phony mortgage applications, and engaging in mail, wire, and bank fraud. Seven other people have pled guilty in the scheme. Bernadel will be deported to Haiti after his term is served.