- Cullman, Alabama

National News

December 18, 2013

Ex-EPA official who faked CIA status gets 32 months in prison

WASHINGTON — The former high-level Environmental Protection Agency official who masqueraded as a CIA adviser was sentenced to 32 months in prison Wednesday, after admitting that his long-running deception had become something of an addiction.

For more than a decade, John Beale skipped out of work for extended periods by telling his bosses that he was on a top-secret assignment for the CIA. Beale explained in court for the first time Wednesday that he was motivated by "a sense of excitement and the rush of getting away with something."

"You get into a habit of doing this just for the sake of doing it," he told U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle.

Beale, who was one of the highest paid federal employees when he retired this year, pleaded guilty in September to stealing more than $900,000 in taxpayer funds by collecting a salary, bonus and other benefits for work he never performed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Smith said Beale ripped off the government in "notorious, historic fashion" and had become a poster child for problems with the federal government. Beale lied about contracting malaria while serving in Vietnam to obtain a parking space that cost the EPA $8,000. He charged the government more than $57,000 for five trips to visit his family in the Los Angeles area.

"His actions are a stain on the work of tens of thousands of honest federal workers," Smith said.

An incredulous Huvelle called Beale's deception "unbelievably egregious" and pressed the air-quality expert about what he had done during his long absences from EPA's Office of Air and Radiation — and with his money.

"That's a lot of time," Huvelle said. "You could have just retired."

Dressed in a gray pin-stripe suit, and leaning on the courtroom lectern, Beale offered that he wasn't golfing or taking expensive vacations. He exercised, worked on his homes in Arlington County, Va. and on Cape Cod, Mass., and pursued a research project he had started years earlier.

Text Only
National News
  • Fort Hood (UPDATED) Officials: 4 dead, including gunman, at Fort Hood

    A gunman opened fire Wednesday at Fort Hood in an attack that left four dead, including the shooter, law enforcement officials said.
    One of the officials, citing official internal U.S. Justice Department updates, said 14 others were hurt. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information by name.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • mfp file Hoffner Fired coach unjustly accused of visiting porn sites

    The president of Minnesota State University-Mankato accused a football coach of looking at Internet porn on a work computer before firing him, an arbitrator has revealed. The official said the claim could not be supported, and the coach shouldn't have been fired.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • High School Stabbings 4 students seriously hurt in Pa. school stabbings

    A student armed with a knife went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning, leaving as many as 20 people injured, including four students who suffered serious wounds, authorities said.

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Obit Ultimate Warrior Former pro wrestler Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

    James Hellwig, better known as former pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior, has died, the WWE said. He was 54.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_amazonfiretv.jpg Amazon introduces Fire TV to challenge Apple in living rooms Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is stepping up efforts to win over customers in their living rooms with a $99 TV box for watching digitally delivered shows and movies, challenging Apple's TV device.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Washington Mudslide Death toll in Washington mudslide rises to 30

    As medical examiners painstakingly piece together the identities and lives of the 30 people known killed when a mudslide wiped out a small Washington community, one mystery troubles them.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Fort Hood Fort Hood gunman sought mental health treatment

    An Iraq War veteran being treated for mental illness was the gunman who opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three people and wounding 16 others before committing suicide, in an attack on the same Texas military base where more than a dozen people were slain in 2009, authorities said.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court Campaign Big donors may give even more under court’s ruling

    The Supreme Court ruling Wednesday erasing a long-standing limit on campaign donations will allow a small number of very wealthy donors to give even more than is currently the case, according to students of the complex campaign finance system, and could strengthen the establishment in both parties.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former McDonald's store managers say they withheld employees' wages

    Two former McDonald's store managers, assisting with a campaign to raise pay for fast-food workers, said they helped withhold employees' wages at the restaurant chain after facing pressure to keep labor costs down.

    April 2, 2014

  • Fact Checker: 'Birth control' for something other than family planning?

    "When 99 percent of women used birth control in their lifetime and 60 percent use it for something other than family planning, it's outrageous and I think the Supreme Court will suggest that their case is ridiculous."

    April 1, 2014