Climate change expert sentenced to 32 months for fraud, says lying was a 'rush' - NBC News
"The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job.
John C. Beale’s crimes were “inexplicable” and “unbelievably egregious," said Judge Ellen Huvelle in imposing the sentence in a Washington. D.C. federal court.
Beale has also agreed to pay $1.3 million in restitution and forfeiture to the government.
Beale said he was ashamed of his lies about working for the CIA, a ruse that, according to court records, began in 2000 and continued until early this year.
“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.
...He also said he used the time "trying to find ways to fine tune the capitalist system" to discourage companies from damaging the environment.
"I spent a lot of time reading on that," said Beale.
...The sentence drew swift reaction from Capitol Hill, including demands from a top Republican for further investigation into the EPA to determine how Beale got away with his fraud for so long.
"The case this morning highlights a massive problem with the EPA," said Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
He said Beale had stolen taxpayer money under the nose of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who for years had been his immediate boss.
...EPA inspector general Arthur Elkins, whose office investigated Beale’s case, said in a statement Wednesday that his office is “actively looking at the EPA’s sloppy internal controls and management actions that enabled Mr. Beale’s frauds to occur…Expect to see the results of more audits from us in the coming months.”
When he first began looking into Beale’s deceptions last February, said EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan, who spearheaded the Beale probe, “I thought, ‘Oh my God, How could this possibly have happened in this agency? … I’ve worked for the government for 35 years. I’ve never seen a situation like this.”
Until he retired in April after learning he was under federal investigation, Beale, an NYU grad with a masters from Princeton, was earning a salary and bonuses of $206,000 a year, making him the highest paid official at the EPA.
He earned more money than the agency’s administrator, Gina McCarthy, according to agency documents.
...For example, one of the reports states, Beale took 33 airplane trips between 2003 and 2011, costing the government $266,190.
On 70 percent of those, he traveled first class and stayed at high end hotels, charging more than twice the government’s allowed per diem limit.
But his expense vouchers were routinely approved by another EPA official, a colleague of Beale’s, whose conduct is now being reviewed by the inspector general, according to congressional investigators briefed on the report..."