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September 28, 2013
Ex-EPA official pleads guilty to theft, pretended to work for the CIA
A former high-level official at the Environmental Protection Agency pleaded guilty Friday to stealing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars by pretending to work for the CIA.
For years, John C. Beale disappeared from the office and explained his lengthy absences by telling his bosses he was doing top-secret work. Beale never worked for the CIA, never had top-secret security clearance and carried on a “pattern of deception for over 10 years,” said magistrate Judge John M. Facciola.
Beale, 64, was charged in August with collecting nearly $900,000 in pay and bonuses for work he avoided performing at EPA. New details emerged Friday about Beale’s scheme. During a 12-year period, prosecutors said, he was away from the office for at least 102 days under the guise of working for the CIA. He took five personal trips to Los Angeles for what he said was a “special research project” and charged the government $57,000 for his travel. To obtain a parking space, Beale lied to his managers about having contracted malaria while serving in Vietnam. He never served in Vietnam, according to the statement of offence Facciola summarized in court.
Mark Lowenthal, a former CIA official who is now president of the Intelligence & Security Academy, said a person who was legitimately working undercover would never have explicitly told colleagues as Beale did, “I’ve got secret work to do.” “His whole story was wholly implausible, and unfortunately, somebody should have been smart enough to realize,” Lowenthal said. “But this is Washington and people never know who is who, and are tickled by the secret stuff going on.”