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The senior Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who scammed the agency out of nearly $1 million in pay without working got service and salary awards throughout his lengthy career as a climate policy expert, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch.
His name is John Beale and he’s on the verge of completing a 32-month prison sentence for defrauding the government by claiming, while employed at the EPA, to be a “secret agent” for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and going on long vacations that he said were CIA missions.
While he committed the fraud the EPA regularly rewarded him with “Special Act or Service Awards” that included cash and time off, the records obtained by JW reveal. From 1991 through 1998 Beale received thousands of dollars in bonuses for his performance as well as a “Time Off Award” in 1998, the records show.
In 2001 he was rewarded yet again with a promotion to work at the White House as a “Senior Policy Advisor.” It’s not like Beale was a lowly employee at the EPA. He was a senior level official who actually worked in the agency’s most powerful office, Air and Radiation (OAR), under President Obama’s current EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy.
OAR is feared by American companies because it develops polices and regulations associated with climate change air pollution that can impose huge costs to both consumers and businesses. McCarthy headed OAR from 2008 to 2013 when Beale was a high-ranking senior policy adviser, which means the EPA Administrator directly managed him at the time.
Beale also defrauded the agency by receiving unlawful reimbursements for upscale personal travel, claiming to be away working for the CIA for 2 ½ years while he collected EPA paychecks and continuing to collect his full government salary years after officially retiring from the agency.
A U.S. Senate investigation blasted McCarthy, his boss at the time at OAR, for not taking action for months after learning that Beale committed fraud. “On March 29, 2012, an OAR official raised concerns about Beale’s retirement when he informed McCarthy that Beale was still on payroll,” the Senate report states. “Despite being aware of the fact that one of her subordinates was collecting a paycheck without providing any work product, this arrangement continued for seven more months before McCarthy ever contacted Beale.”
In December 2012, McCarthy met with Beale for the first time in nearly 15 months and he told her he was no longer planning to retire. Beale wasn’t reported to the EPA Inspector General for another two months and, though McCarthy had cause to fire him, she let him retire voluntarily with full benefits. Remember, this is the woman who runs the agency now.
On August 23, 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed criminal charges against Beale and a year later he was convicted of fraud and stealing $900,000 from the government. He’s on the verge of completing a 32-month sentence in a federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland. The Senate investigation determined that his actions, not only disgraced the agency, but also raised questions about its management and oversight abilities.
In fact, despite Beale’s decades-long history of fraud and deceit many of his EPA colleagues refuse to view him as a criminal and even submitted letters to the court requesting leniency during his sentencing. “These officials’ reaction to the scandal suggests that an individual can steal a million dollars from taxpayers and perpetrate a crime for nearly two decades, but still be considered — by some — as an environmental legend,” the Senate report states.
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