The plea hearing for a former high-level Environmental Protection Agency employee who allegedly pretended to work for the CIA has been postponed until later this month.

John C. Beale, who is charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the agency, was hospitalized last week with a “potentially serious medical condition affecting his throat,” his attorney said in a court filing.

Beale had an arraignment and plea scheduled for Monday at the U.S. District Court in Washington, but his lawyer John W. Kern asked for a delay until Sept. 27 to allow for more time for diagnosis and treatment of Beale’s unspecified throat condition.

According to the court filing, Beale had a second tracheostomy incision to help with his breathing and was scheduled to remain in the hospital through Monday.

Starting in 2000, federal prosecutors say Beale stole nearly $900,000 in salary, benefits and bonuses for work he never performed. Beale would allegedly disappear from the office for long periods and tell his bosses that he was doing top-secret work, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the pending case.

Beale earned $164,700 when he retired in April as a senior policy adviser in the Office of Air and Radiation. He faces up to three years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.