An Environmental Protection Agency official lied to investigators about her colleague, John Beale, who defrauded taxpayers out of almost $900,000 by pretending to be a CIA spy, and also was personally responsible for $184,000 of the money lost to the scam.

Beth Craig, a former deputy assistant administrator who now leads the Climate Protection Partnership division, told investigators that "Beale was held to a different standard because he was a senior leader" while offering "various explanations" for why she approved his expenses.

"The investigation disclosed that, from 2005 to 2007, Craig failed to exercise due diligence and permitted the authorization and approval of $65,721.87 in excessive, improper, or fraudulent travel vouchers for Beale," states an April 17 memorandum from the office of the EPA inspector general obtained by the Washington Examiner. Craig was "ultimately responsible" for these voucher approvals, according to the memo.

Inspector general investigators also caught Craig in a lie on the day that she offered the "different standard" explanation for approving Beale's fraudulent vouchers.

"Craig initially denied having spoken to other witnesses, but then admitted to it after having been confronted with the facts to the contrary," the memorandum states.

Craig also “routinely instructed” her subordinates “to put Beale in for eighty (80) hours of work for each pay period unless instructed otherwise,” the inspector general found, which ultimately cost taxpayers $118,471.45.

When subordinates questioned why Beale was being paid when he wasn’t at work, “Craig stated that Beale worked for EPA, but from a different location.” She thought he was doing CIA work.

A judge asked Beale what he was actually doing. "He exercised, worked on his houses, and spent time reading up on an EPA-related side interest: how to change the system that makes regulations become externalized costs," Politico paraphrases him as saying.

“I don’t play golf," Beale explained to the judge. "I don’t take expensive vacations.”