Chemist at center of state lab scandal apparently lied on resume

Former state chemist Annie Dookhan does not have a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston as she claims on her resume, officials at the school confirm, raising new doubts about the credibility of the woman at the heart of the spiraling state drug lab scandal.

Dookhan, who left the lab in March amid allegations that she mishandled drug evidence in criminal cases, received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the university in 2001, officials say. But school records show that Dookhan took no additional courses after her graduation in 2001 and does not have a master’s degree from the university as she claims in the resume on file with the state. School officials say Dookhan requested an application for the master’s program, but never completed it.

Dookhan started working for the state drug lab in 2003. She handled 60,000 drug samples, raising doubts about the reliability of the evidence used in some 34,000 criminal cases.

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Dookhan, who has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, has been under scrutiny since June 2011 when she improperly removed 90 drug samples from the evidence room without signing them out as required. But Dookhan continued to serve as an expert witness in criminal cases for months until state officials became concerned that her misconduct was more extensive than previously believed.

Now, the Patrick Administration has identified 1,141 inmates in Massachusetts jails and prisons who were convicted based on potentially tainted evidence handled by Dookhan.