The Environmental Protection Agency’s top climate change expert and highest paid employee was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison today for defrauding the government.John C. Beale, who lives with his wife in Virginia, claimed he was a CIA agent working in Pakistan so he didn’t have to show up for work for months at a time and defrauded the government out of more than $900,000….The 65-year-old’s 13 year scam was ‘inexplicable’ and ‘unbelievably egregious’, Judge Ellen Huvelle said in Washington D.C. federal court today.
“Why did I do this? Greed – simple greed – and I’m ashamed of that greed,” Beale told the court. He also said it was possible that he got a “rush” and a “sense of excitement” by telling people he was worked for the CIA. “It was something like an addiction,” he said.Beale pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade. He perpetrated his fraud largely by failing to show up at the EPA for months at a time, including one 18-month stretch starting in June 2011 when he did “absolutely no work,” as his lawyer acknowledged in a sentencing memo filed last week.
He billed taxpayers for 33 plane flights between 2003 and 2011, including personal trips to London and California, which he flew first class. He stayed in five-star hotels and billed the government for expensive meals and limo rides. The total cost: more than $266,000.He also publicly ‘retired,’ but managed to continue drawing his $206,000 salary for 18 months – despite brazenly throwing a retirement party for himself that was attended by [EPA Administrator Gina] McCarthy.He even lied and said he had contracted malaria while serving in the Vietnam War in order to get a handicapped parking spot. He neither had malaria nor served in Vietnam, according to prosecutors.