Turns out the easiest way to commit fraud against the government is to just be as vague and mysterious as possible.

John C. Beale spent 12 years cultivating aura of mystery at his high level staff position at the Environmental Protection Agency. He would take extended trips to places like China, South Africa, and England, telling his co-workers that his long absences were because he was doing “sensitive work for another agency.” Beale even went so far as to tell his boss that he was in the CIA. Too bad none of this was true.

John Beale has been charged by the federal government for fraud. The charges are specifically for stealing nearly $900,000 from the government, in the way of salary and benefits he had not earned by essentially never being in the office. Which is strange, because I always thought being a really good liar was all you needed to earn a government salary.

Beale will appear in a district court on Monday, where he is expected to plead guilty to the charges brought against him. It is unclear as of now whether or not he has the financial ability to pay back the $900,000 he owes the government.

In this strange case, I almost think the real criminal is Beale’s gullible boss, who let this scheme go on for over a decade. How someone could honestly believe their 64-year old air policy expert was a spy is beyond me. He must have gotten the office some really cool souvenirs or something from all his trips.