FOR nearly a decade, Annie Dookhan was considered to be one of the best in her role as lab chemist for the state of Massachusetts.
In her position, seen in new Netflix show How To Fix A Drug Scandal, she had helped get drug dealers off the streets, unbeknown to her colleagues that she was the real danger.
Who is Annie Dookhan?
Annie Dookhan worked as a drug analyst at a laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts.
She worked for the Hinton State Laboratory in Boston, and her phenomenal results led to her being given the nickname "superwoman" by her workmates.
Dookhan would test 700 samples of narcotics per month in comparison to her colleagues' 300.
In an act called "dry labbing", she would visually identify drug samples without even testing them.
This led to her achieving a lot more test results than her peers.
She would also add illegal substances to samples which came back negative.
One court case saw the chemist testify that a piece of cashew nut was actually cocaine.
Despite concerns from employees, bosses turned a blind eye often calling her actions a lapse of judgment.
It didn't become clear until 2012 why Dookhan was able to churn out so many results, when it came to the light that she was falsifying drug tests.
This raised eyebrows within the department and further investigation revealed she had forged the initials of another evidence officer in the log book, an act which saw her suspended from her duties.
Despite being suspended, she was still able to testify at trials in court, this continued until the state attorney of Boston was notified and Dookhan was placed on administrative leave, she then resigned from her role in 2012.
Netflix has released a documentary detailing her life and crimes called How To Fix A Drug Scandal which is available to watch now.
What was Annie convicted of?
Although the lab where Dookan worked at was in Boston, it was being run by Massachusetts Department of Health, but control of the facility was passed on to Massachusetts State Police in 2011.
During this change of power, the state police, who became aware of Dookhan's foul play, decided to mount a probe into her case.
This probe opened a can of worms and it was revealed that her bosses had turned a blind eye to her behaviour, for example when she had tested over five times the average for testing, producing 500 samples a month-even though her peers had hardly seen her in-front of a microscope.
These worrying findings were enough to get the lab shut down.
Dookhan came clean about the full extent of her crimes, admitting to altering and faking test results in order to cover up her frequent "dry labbing," or visually identifying samples without actually testing them.
She even went as far as to add cocaine to samples in which no cocaine was present, and said she had been dry-labbing for as long as three years.
Dookhan also lied about her academic achievements, after she claimed in sworn testimony that she had a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
This led to Dookan's arrest and in September 2012, she was charged with obstruction of justice and falsification of academic records.
The following years resulted in 36,000 successful appeals of convictions that used analysis from Annie's lab.
Annie received three to five years in prison and two years of parole.
When she was being sentenced the judge said: "The integrity of the criminal justice system has been shaken to the core."
Where is Annie now?
In April 2016, Dookhan was released from Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Framingham, after being approved for parole.
She served three years of her sentence.
The Boston Herald, reported that Dookhan is now focusing on family and "adjusting to normalcy".
Her attorney, Nicolas Gordon, said she wasn't surprised about her early release.
He told the paper: “She’s moving forward with her life and she has a very positive outlook on the future.
“I don’t think she’s made any major life decisions about what she’s going to do. She’s certainly keeping her options open.”
She was told to have mental health evaluations after leaving prison.
She has not spoken to the press about her case.
The ramifications of her actions were felt far and wide and it is said that up to 40,000 people could have wrongfully been convicted as a result.
This resulted in over 20,000 of those getting their convictions overturned in 2015, at the Massachussets Supreme Judicial Court.
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Was Annie involved in making How To Fix A Drug Scandal?
How To Fix A Drug Scandal was directed and produced by Erin Lee Carr.
The show mulls over first-person interviews from criminal defence lawyers who fought to secure release for clients convicted with faulty evidence and state prosecutors.
It is not thought that Dookhan took part in the Netflix show which also tells the story of Sonja Farak.
Farak declined to be part of the series due to an ongoing civil case but did speak with Carr off-the-record.
Although Farak is the star of the show, the documentary also shows how far the corruption went, with the state attorney of Massachusetts going to great lengths to cover up Farak's crimes, which one judge said was a “a fraud upon the court”.