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Absent federal worker who said he was busy at CIA is charged with $900K salary theft

Posted Sep 5, 2013 5:20 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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For years, it appears that no one checked when a high-level staffer at the Environmental Protection Agency explained his absences at work by saying that he was busy with projects including top-secret assignments for the CIA.

Now John C. Beale, 64, is facing criminal charges, accused of bilking the EPA by accepting nearly $900,000 in salary and bonuses over the past decade that he did not earn, the Washington Post (reg. req.) reports. If convicted, he could get as much as three years in federal prison and be required to make restitution.

It isn't clear exactly what finally prompted the feds to investigate Beale, who retired earlier in 2013 from his $164,700-a-year job. He frequently traveled overseas, and made mention of his battle with malaria.

"There was always an aura of mystery surrounding him,” said president Frank O’Donnell of Clean Air Watch, who attended meetings with Beale. “He always projected confidence that he could fix any problem.”

Beale and his wife did not respond to the newspaper's requests for comment. His lawyer and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment.

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