Office Assistant: EPA Scammer John Beale Didn't Fool Me

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 01:43 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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For years, most people around former Environmental Protection Agency executive John Beale — even his wife — apparently believed he was living a secret double life as a clandestine CIA officer, but his office administrator claims she wasn't fooled.

"I am surprised it took as long as it has for John to be investigated," Addie Johnson, the former executive assistant in the Office of Air and Radiation, where Beale had worked, told agents from the Office of Inspector General last year.

A memo about the interview, obtained by FoxNews.com, outlines the concerns Johnson said she had for years about Beale and adds more evidence that mid-level EPA workers were onto Beale while his superiors took years to act on their concerns.

Beale was sentenced in December to 32 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.4 million in fines and restitution after he scammed his former employer out of $500,000 in bonuses and 2½ years of paid time off over the past 20 years.

Johnson said one of the first signs that something was amiss was that Beale never entered his work hours into an official reporting system, but instead told her to bill 80 hours for each pay period. She was concerned because she "rarely saw Beale in the office."

Further, a supervisor allowed Beale's expenses to be processed, even though she saw single trip vouchers that totaled over $20,000.

"John Beale walked on water in Air," said Johnson, playing off the office's name.

Johnson also said she was suspicious when Beale claimed he needed first class flight accommodations because of a back condition from an accident at his Massachusetts home.

"Johnson stated that she did think it was strange that Beale needed to fly first class due to his back condition since he was an avid bicyclist who would routinely go on long bike trips and he never exhibited any signs of back problems when he was in the office," the investigation memo said.

Johnson told investigators she also doubted Beale's stories about working "at Langley" for the CIA because he never called the office from a number at Langley.

Johnson also said Beale once told her he planned to retire from the CIA, but that his replacement was captured and tortured, so he had to go to Iraq or Iran until his replacement would be able to work.

She told investigators that she called him out on those claims, telling him "John, that's what movies are made of."

Johnson also noted that Beale ordered "a lot of books" on the EPA accounts, but they dealt with economics and were not consistent with his job duties.

Another employee, Scott Monroe, director of human resources in Beale's division, also had concerns, Fox reports. He knew there were problems as far back as 2008, and tried to intervene in 2010 and 2011, when he sent a memo to now-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy raising concerns about a 25 percent retention bonus Beale was collecting.

According to the inspector general's investigation, Beale was first recommended for the bonus in 1991 and kept getting them until 2013, collecting a total of $500,000.

An EPA boss said the bonuses were needed to keep Beale, who was considered effective in international negotiations about air pollution control, from leaving EPA to accept an offer from a major law firm.

Beale later told investigators he never had a written offer for other employment.

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