Most people call in sick if they're going to miss a day of work. John C. Beale, on the other hand, apparently convinced his family, friends and coworkers that he was a spy for the CIA.
Beale, a 65-year-old Arlington man who was a senior advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation, was sentenced to 32 months in prison on Wednesday for defrauding the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars of unearned compensation, according to multiple news reports.
Since 2000, Beale missed more than two-and-a-half years of work by claiming he was working for the CIA at the agency's headquarters in Langley, working on candidate security in the months before the 2008 election or on missions in Pakistan, according to MSNBC and other outlets.
Once, his excuse for a last-minute trip to Pakistan involved a bogus rescue mission for a CIA agent he claimed was being tortured by terrorists, MSNBC's Erin Delmore reported.
Pegged as the one-time highest-paid employee at the EPA, Beale got away with lying until the agency's inspector general's officer began an investigation — which only happened after Beale had collected money for 18 months after his retirement, according to Politico.
In all, he fraudulently took about $900,000, according to multiple reports. A judge this week ordered him to pay $1.3 million in restitution.
Beale's "missions" weren't as sexy as he claimed. Rather than rescuing a fellow spy, Beale was more likely to be at home in Arlington or at the family's vacation home in Cape Cod reading books, doing housework or riding his bike, according to NBC's Michael Isikoff.
Beale admitted in court Wednesday that he was driven by "greed" and said the scheme gave him "a sense of excitement or a rush with getting away with something," according to ABC News.
Beale paid $536,000 for a 4,100-square-foot townhouse in the Ballston area in 1996, the Washington Post reported, citing property records.