Top 10 People Who Were ACTUALLY Paid Off with Bribes

Top 10 People Who Were ACTUALLY Paid Off with Bribes
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: William Regot
They say everyone has a price, and that's certainly true for these people. For this list, we're looking at individuals who accepted money in exchange for certain favors. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 People Who Were ACTUALLY Paid Off with Bribes.

Top 10 People Who Were ACTUALLY Paid Off with Bribes

They say everyone has a price, and that’s certainly true for these people. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 People Who Were ACTUALLY Paid Off with Bribes.

For this list, we’re looking at individuals who accepted money in exchange for certain favors.

#10: Randall ‘Duke’ Cunningham

A former U.S. congressman from California, Duke Cunningham was viewed as a hero for his 20-year service in the Navy, including a stint as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. However, Duke’s image was tarnished amid accusations that the congressman accepted no less than $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors, which included a Rolls-Royce and personal access to a yacht. In 2005, Cunningham stepped down from congress and pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, among other charges, and he spent several years in prison until he was released in 2013.

#9: Dianne Wilkerson

This Democratic state senator served in the Massachusetts state legislature for fifteen years until her political career was derailed in 2008 by an FBI investigation. Over a 16-month period, Wilkerson accepted eight bribes which totaled more $23,000 from FBI agents pretending to be businessmen. In return for these bribes, she gave away public land and did everything she could to allow a nightclub to open. One damning video showed Wilkerson tucking one of those bribes under her shirt. After pleading guilty in 2010, the state senator received a three-and-a-half year prison sentence.

#8: Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif & Mohammad Amir [aka Pakistan Cricket Spot-Fixing Controversy]

In 2010, three players from Pakistan’s cricket team were paid off by bookie Mazhar Majeed to intentionally play badly during a game against England to upset the odds. This allowed people who were aware of the payoff to make advantageous bets, which is an example of spot-fixing. Evidence of the scandal came from a News of the World sting video where Majeed bragged to an undercover reporter about his ability to manipulate the outcome of cricket games. When the scandal was uncovered, the three players that were bribed, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Amir, were temporarily banned from the game by the International Cricket Council, and everyone involved received prison sentences.

#7: Carl Kruger

This New York state senator was indicted along with seven other state legislators, including William Boyland, Jr. (X-Ref) for taking millions of dollars’ worth of bribes. In return for accepting this money, Senator Kruger offered political favors, such as voting to prohibit stores like Walmart from being built in New York City. Some of the gifts Kruger received were a Bentley and home worth more than two million dollars. Among the charges Kruger pled guilty to was conspiracy to commit bribery, and in 2012, Kruger got seven years.

#6: Albert B. Fall

Teapot Dome was one of the most infamous scandals in U.S. history, and President Warren G. Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, was the central figure behind it. In exchange for a no bid contract giving drilling rights to naval reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, Secretary Fall accepted more than $300,000 in government bonds from Mammoth Oil president Harry F. Sinclair. When Fall was convicted, he spent a year in jail and became the first cabinet secretary of any presidential administration to receive a felony conviction.

#5: Stormy Daniels

A month before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Michael Cohen, a lawyer for Donald Trump, arranged for adult film star Stormy Daniels to sign a document which paid the actress $130,000 to keep silent about a 2006 affair she had with the Republican candidate. When details first came out in 2018, President Trump denied the existence of the document and the affair. However, Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, came out publicly to allege the rumors were true. While technically not a bribe, it was a payment for silence, and Ms. Clifford was coerced into complying with the agreement.

#4: Kerry Khan & Michael A. Alexander

These two civil servants who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers were accused in 2011 of taking more than $30 million in bribes and were planning to score a billion-dollar contract. As part of their scheme, they not only took bribes from contractors, they propped up the value of the invoices they submitted to the federal government so they could pocket even more cash from taxpayers. With the money he obtained from his bribes, Khan purchased big ticket items such as flat screen TVs, Rolexes, and plane tickets. For their roles in the scandal, Khan got 19 years in federal prison and Alexander got 6.

#3: Marcelo Co

A former city council member from Moreno Valley, California, Marcelo Co was brought down in 2013 for taking a $2.36 million bribe, which is considered the single largest bribe in U.S. history. A sting video showed Councilman Co taking the money from an FBI agent who was posing as a land broker. In exchange for the large sum of cash, Co promised to change zoning laws to increase the value of a 30-acre property. In 2015, Co was given five years in federal prison after having pled guilty to one count of bribery and one count of tax fraud.

#2: Michael Conahan & Mark Ciavarella

In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, these two judges pretended to be tough on juvenile crime, but in reality, these men were paid by for-profit prisons to help keep their juvenile detention centers filled. The judges’ scandal became known in the media as “Kids for Cash,” in which countless kids were locked up for years in juvenile detention for offenses that, in many cases, didn’t call for jail time, such a young girl who only set up a Myspace page, which was critical of the assistant principal of her school. In 2010, Conahan was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison, and in 2011, Ciavarella was given 28 years.

#1: Spiro Agnew

In 1973, Vice President to Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew, was the subject of a criminal investigation by the IRS and the FBI. Among the allegations, while serving as governor of Maryland in the 1960s, Agnew took kickbacks from a government contractor. As a result of the investigation, Agnew pled nolo contendere to tax evasion and stepped down from the vice presidency, with House Minority Leader Gerald Ford stepping in as a replacement. In 1983, Agnew somewhat made amends by returning the money he allegedly accepted in bribes to the Maryland state treasurer, but then later tried to write the expense off as a tax break.