Defrauding the government is one crime that doesn’t sit well with me. But when the person doing the defrauding is in the government, that compounds the treachery. If you hadn’t heard this story, a senior executive at the Environmental Protection Agency, John Beale, committed several acts of fraud by coding his time and attendance records allowing him to be paid more than the allowable legal limit. If that wasn’t bad enough, he falsely claimed he was an undercover CIA agent – disappearing from the office for weeks, sometimes months at a time – and continued to collect his pay as if he were showing up at work every day.
Atrocious isn’t it? Well check this out. The worse part of the whole saga is the lack of any action taken by superiors to discipline Beale. The EPA’s HR department noticed discrepancies and advised his bosses going as far back as July 2010, but nothing was ever done about it. I think those people ought to face sanctions too. What’s that saying about being either part of the solution or part of the problem? That’s this case. Before it was all over, Beale had fraudulently collected more than $900,000 in salary for hours he never worked, and his work wasn’t terminated until February 2013. That’s the part that puzzles me, that it was allowed to go on for so long. Their excuse? They believed his story that he was a CIA operative working undercover. They never asked for documentation. They never questioned him about it. They just accepted his word that he was who he claimed to be. That level of denial by Beale’s management is just as bad as Beale and his deception. The whole sordid tale is unimaginable. This is one key reason why the government’s deficit is so high. Congress quibbles over how much money to authorize for different agencies; but the real problem is executives like Beale who steal that money. A government-wide remedy is needed for this kind of larceny.