A senior policy advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency secretly siphoned off $886,000 in pay and bonuses for work he never did over the past 12 years, The Washington Post reports
John Beale, who oversaw the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, now faces up to three years behind bars for the theft that he is expected to plead guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
The 64-year-old government bureaucrat is said to have disappeared for long periods of time, explaining to his superiors that he was involved in top-secret work.
He emitted a cloak-and-dagger vibe, telling colleagues that some of his work was for the CIA.
"This is a situation where one individual went to great lengths to deceive and defraud the U.S. government," EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson told the Post.
Beale, who was making $164,700 annually, was forced to retire in April 2013, when the thefts were uncovered, according to the newspaper.
An air quality expert, Beale’s job took him to such locations as South Africa and China.
Under President George W. Bush, Beale coordinated the EPA’s activities involving climate change.
Beale’s attorney, John Kern, declined to comment to the newspaper.
The Times Picayune of New Orleans reports that Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, who sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, wants a probe of how Beale’s longtime deception went undetected.
"We need to know immediately if this corruption is isolated, or if not; who facilitated the tax dollar scam and the true depth of this accounting fiasco, as well as everything the employee may have been involved in during his tenure at the EPA." Vitter told the Times-Picayune
"This matter raises a number of questions about the integrity of the EPA's workforce payroll and benefits process …"
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