EPA Official Sentenced for Fraud

By:  Warren Mass
EPA Official Sentenced for Fraud

John Beale, a former EPA senior policy advisor who pled guilty on September 27 to stealing nearly $900,000 from the agency over 13 years, was sentenced to 32 months in prison on December 18.

Judge Ellen Huvelle sentenced to the prison term as well as two years supervised release. Beale already has paid $886,000 in restitution, and now owes more than a half-million dollars in forfeiture, which he is expected to pay the Justice Department within the next month. 

Beale, a New York University graduate with a masters from Princeton, received $206,000 a year in salary and bonuses, making him the highest paid individual at the EPA, even more than the agency’s administrator, Gina McCarthy. Inherent in his high-ranking position at the EPA is the presumption that Beale was an expert on environmental matters, including climate change.

In his court filing asking for leniency for his client, Beale’s lawyer, John Kerns, implored Judge Huvelle to weigh Beale’s alleged accomplishments during his years at the EPA against his admitted crimes. Among the touted accomplishments are helping to rewrite the Clean Air Act in 1990, heading up EPA delegations to United Nations conferences on climate change in 2000 and 2001, and helping to negotiate agreements to reduce carbon emissions with China, India, and other nations.

During his career with the EPA, Beale successfully got agency officials to believe a long list of lies that allowed him to draw his very generous salary, and also receive expense account reimbursements for non-existent assignments. He also told shameless lies to receive special privileges. Beale claimed to have contracted malaria back when he serving in Vietnam in order to be assigned a handicap parking space, worth $200 a month. However, not only did he never have malaria — he never served in Vietnam!

Among Beale’s most outrageous lies was his claim that he was working for an interagency, special advisory group at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. He claimed he needed to take off once a week from the EPA to work on his CIA missions in Pakistan. Incredibly, he got away with this ruse for eight years, and in 2008, emboldened by his success, took off for about six months, telling managers and employees at the EPA he was working on a CIA research project or working for “Langley,” where the CIA is headquartered. He claimed that he was part of a special multi-agency election-year project relating to “candidate security.” An NBC News report quoted from a newly filed sentencing memo in which prosecutors said that Beale’s lies were a “crime of massive proportion” and “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.

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