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DC Federal Criminal Attorney Helps Former EPA Official Posing as CIA Operative

By a staff writer with the firm

Dec. 19, 2013

A former high-level EPA official who dodged the drudgery of real work for years by concocting wild tales of working for the CIA was sentenced Wednesday to 2 ½ years in federal prison. John C. Beale, who was once the highest paid employee at the EPA as a senior policy advisor, reportedly said it was his thirst for excitement and the rush of getting away with something that led him to live a life of deception. The cost to tax payers, estimated by federal authorities, came in at around $1 million in bogus salary, bonus, and travel earnings.

U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle chastised the former Environmental Protection Agency employee during sentencing, saying his scheme had “made a mockery of working for the federal government.”

According to the Washington Post, the 65-year-old Beale admitted last September that he had skipped out on his real job by telling his supervisors he was doing “top-secret work” for the CIA. He was paid for a total of 2 ½ years of work he did not perform since early 2000 and received about $500,000 in bonuses he did not deserve, according to his plea agreement. His scheme included lies about contracting malaria to obtain a reserved parking space, which cost the EPA around $8,000 spread out over three years. Beale also jetted to Los Angeles to visit his family regularly, leaving the federal government to pick up the more than $57,000 travel tab.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Smith branded Beale the “poster child” for problems with the federal workforce and said the one-time authority on climate change had not only disgraced himself but had placed a painful strain on his honest and hard-working colleagues. The federal prosecutor also stated that the defendant had ripped off the government in “notorious, historic fashion.”

Beale may have faced harsher sentencing terms were it not for his clear and compelling remorse, which included him telling the court that he knew he had “abused and betrayed” the trust he earned during his long career “by exploiting flaws in the management system” at the federal agency. He also agreed to repay the government nearly $900,000 of the fraudulently earned salary and benefits. Those decisions were likely based on the wise counsel Beale received from his dedicated white-collar criminal defense attorney, John Kern. In his sentencing memo to the court, Kern stated that his client has sought the aid of a therapist and “has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.” Kern also said Beale was driven “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives … that are fueled by his insecurities.”

Though Beale’s case is among the more bizarre examples of a white-collar criminal case, it remains a testament to the benefits of strong mitigation skills that an experienced and qualified white-collar criminal defense attorney must possess. If you have been charged with a white-collar offense, or if you are under investigation for a federal crime, you too will need to secure the services of a keen and insightful white-collar defense attorney. Visit our website for more information and a free case evaluation.