During the Teapot Dome scandal, Albert B. Fall, who was interior secretary in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet, is convicted of accepting a bribe during his tenure. Fall was the first individual to be convicted of a crime committed while in the presidential cabinet.
As a member of President Harding’s corrupt cabinet in the early 1920s, Fall accepted a $ 100,000 interest-free “loan” from Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company, who wanted Fall to grant his undertakes a valuable oil lease in the Elk Hills Naval Oil Reserve in California. The site, along with the Teapot Dome Naval Oil Reserve in Wyoming, had previously been transferred to the Home Office at the behest of Fall, who clearly realized the personal gains he could make by leasing the land to private companies.
In October 1923, the Senate Public Lands Committee launched an investigation which revealed not only the $ 100,000 bribe Fall received from Doheny, but also Harry Sinclair, Chairman of Mammoth Oil, had given him some $ 300,000 in government bonds and cash in exchange for using the Teapot Dome oil reserve in Wyoming.
In 1927, the oil fields were returned to the US government by a Supreme Court ruling. Two years later, Fall was convicted of bribery and sentenced to one year in prison and fined $ 100,000. Doheny escaped conviction, but Sinclair was jailed for contempt of Congress and tampering with the jury.
READ MORE: Teapot Dome Scandal: Definition, Dates & Effects