“I can’t come to the office, I’m working for the CIA”

“I can’t come to the office, I’m working for the CIA”

“I can’t come to the office, I’m working for the CIA”

HR at the Environmental Protection Agency must be feeling pretty embarrassed as news emerges that an employee convinced his supervisors he was working for the CIA.

By convincing a series of supervisors including top officials in the Office of Air and Radiation, John Beale managed to draw out the ruse for years – getting paid for two and a half years of work he didn’t complete, and receiving $500,000 in un-earned bonuses.

Beale was working as a senior policy advisor at the time and his lies included claiming he had contracted malaria to get assigned a prime parking spot. He also claimed expenses of more than $50,000 to visit family in Los Angeles.

He said he was motivated by a sense of excitement and the rush of getting away with something and now feels “shame” and wonders “how stupid could a person be?”

He was caught when EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, who led the Air and Radiation office from 2009, became suspicious last year.

As part of Beale’s plea deal, he has agreed to repay the government nearly $900,000 in salary and bonuses, in addition to forfeiting more than $500,000.