A-12605, MARCH 6, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 697

A-12605: Mar 6, 1926

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PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT - REWARDS TO INFORMERS AS IT IS THE LEGAL DUTY OF A WAREHOUSEMAN TO REPORT ILLEGAL SHIPMENTS OF LIQUOR RECEIVED BY HIM. SUCH AN AGREEMENT IS OBJECTIONABLE AS BEING INDEFINITE IN AMOUNT AND IN THAT IT MAY BE AVAILED OF BY THE WAREHOUSEMAN ONLY WHEN IT IS TO HIS ADVANTAGE TO DO SO IN ORDER TO SAVE HIMSELF FROM FINANCIAL LOSS OR CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY. PAYMENTS WILL BE AUTHORIZED UNDER SUCH PAST AGREEMENTS ON CLAIMS ACCRUING PRIOR TO MARCH 1. SUCH PROCEDURE IS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE CORRECTION. WHEREIN WERE DISALLOWED CERTAIN ITEMS IN ITS CLAIM NO. 098244. THAT: IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL TO HAVE OR POSSESS ANY LIQUOR OR PROPERTY DESIGNED FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF LIQUOR INTENDED FOR USE IN VIOLATING THIS TITLE OR WHICH HAS BEEN SO USED.

A-12605, MARCH 6, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 697

PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT - REWARDS TO INFORMERS AS IT IS THE LEGAL DUTY OF A WAREHOUSEMAN TO REPORT ILLEGAL SHIPMENTS OF LIQUOR RECEIVED BY HIM, THE FURNISHING OF SUCH REPORTS TO PROHIBITION AGENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT SUPPLY A GOOD CONSIDERATION FOR AN AGREEMENT TO MAKE HIM WHOLE AS TO ALL EXPENSES AND ACCRUED CHARGES ON SHIPMENTS OF ILLICIT LIQUOR SO RECEIVED IF HE WOULD REPORT THE SAME TO THE PROHIBITION AGENTS. SUCH AN AGREEMENT IS OBJECTIONABLE AS BEING INDEFINITE IN AMOUNT AND IN THAT IT MAY BE AVAILED OF BY THE WAREHOUSEMAN ONLY WHEN IT IS TO HIS ADVANTAGE TO DO SO IN ORDER TO SAVE HIMSELF FROM FINANCIAL LOSS OR CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY. PAYMENTS WILL BE AUTHORIZED UNDER SUCH PAST AGREEMENTS ON CLAIMS ACCRUING PRIOR TO MARCH 1, 1926, BUT SUCH PROCEDURE IS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE CORRECTION.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MARCH 6, 1926:

THE MINNEAPOLIS TRANSFER AND WAREHOUSE CO. REQUESTED JANUARY 7, 1926, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 090530-T, DATED AUGUST 14, 1925, WHEREIN WERE DISALLOWED CERTAIN ITEMS IN ITS CLAIM NO. 098244, FOR DRAYAGE, HANDLING CHARGES, FREIGHT ADVANCED, AND STORAGE FROM JANUARY 11 TO MAY 19, 1924, INCLUSIVE, ON 103 CASES AND 1 BARREL OF ALCOHOL, SAID ALCOHOL HAVING BEEN SEIZED BY UNITED STATES PROHIBITION AGENTS ON JANUARY 16, 1924, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 25 OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1919, 41 STAT. 315, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT:

IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL TO HAVE OR POSSESS ANY LIQUOR OR PROPERTY DESIGNED FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF LIQUOR INTENDED FOR USE IN VIOLATING THIS TITLE OR WHICH HAS BEEN SO USED, AND NO PROPERTY RIGHTS SHALL EXIST IN ANY SUCH LIQUOR OR PROPERTY. A SEARCH WARRANT MAY ISSUE AS PROVIDED IN * * * (ACT OF JUNE 15, 1917, 40 STAT. 228), AND SUCH LIQUOR, THE CONTAINERS THEREOF, AND SUCH PROPERTY SO SEIZED SHALL BE SUBJECT TO SUCH DISPOSITION AS THE COURT MAY MAKE THEREOF. IF IT IS FOUND THAT SUCH LIQUOR OR PROPERTY WAS SO UNLAWFULLY HELD OR POSSESSED, OR HAD BEEN SO UNLAWFULLY USED, THE LIQUOR, AND ALL PROPERTY DESIGNED FOR THE UNLAWFUL MANUFACTURE OF LIQUOR, SHALL BE DESTROYED, UNLESS THE COURT SHALL OTHERWISE ORDER. * * *

IN SUBMITTING ITS CLAIM THE WAREHOUSE COMPANY STATED AS FOLLOWS:

IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH YOU TO-DAY, WE ARE ENCLOSING YOU HEREWITH TWO FREIGHT BILLS, ONE FOR $94.95 COVERING FREIGHT CHARGES ON 103 CARTONS MEDICINE, AND THE OTHER FOR $4.12 COVERING THE FREIGHT CHARGES ON ONE BARREL MEDICINE. THESE TWO CONSIGNMENTS, IT APPEARS, ORIGINATED IN NEW YORK, COMING TO CHICAGO, AND WERE THERE LOADED INTO A CAR BY W. S. MILLER CO. AND CONSIGNED TO US IN A CAR OF MISCELLANEOUS MERCHANDISE. AFTER THE SHIPMENT ARRIVED HERE AT OUR FREIGHT HOUSE, SOME OF THE BOTTLES HAVING BEEN BROKEN, OUR WAREHOUSEMAN INFORMED US THAT IT SMELLED LIKE ALCOHOL.

WE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED YOUR OFFICE, WHEREUPON YOU SEIZED THE GOODS AND SAME WERE PLACED IN STORAGE. WE ALSO FURNISHED YOUR OFFICE A LETTER, WHICH WAS GIVEN TO YOUR MR. MALONEY, ON THE LETTERHEAD OF THE DIAMOND DRUG CO., NEW YORK, AND SIGNED BY BEN MILLER, TO ASSIST YOUR OFFICE IN LOCATING THE LAWBREAKERS.

THE FEDERAL PROHIBITION DIRECTOR FOR THE STATE OF MINNESOTA STATES THAT HIS OFFICE HAD BEEN ADVISED BY THE WAREHOUSE COMPANY OF THEIR SUSPICIONS REGARDING THE SHIPMENT HELD IN THEIR WAREHOUSE AND HAD AGREED THAT IN CASE OF SEIZURE, ANY EXPENSE THE COMPANY MIGHT HAVE IN THE MATTER WOULD BE TAKEN CARE OF BY THAT OFFICE.

IT ALSO APPEARS THAT PURSUANT TO SAID ARRANGEMENT CLAIMANT PERMITTED THE PROHIBITION OFFICERS TO EXAMINE THE SHIPMENT AND TAKE SAMPLES OF THE ALCOHOL FOR PURPOSES OF CHEMICAL ANALYSIS BEFORE ISSUANCE OF SEARCH WARRANT AND OTHERWISE COOPERATED WITH THE PROHIBITION AUTHORITIES.

AGREEMENTS, SUCH AS INVOLVED IN THIS CASE, TO MAKE A PERSON WHOLE AS TO ALL EXPENSES INCURRED AND AS TO ALL CLAIMS FOR STORAGE ACCRUED AGAINST LIQUORS IN HIS POSSESSION, IN CONSIDERATION OF HIS FURNISHING INFORMATION AS TO THEIR CHARACTER AND POSSESSION, ARE OF DOUBTFUL LEGALITY, NOT ONLY AS TO SUBJECT MATTER BUT ARE INDEFINITE AS TO THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS OBLIGATED. SO, TOO, IT IS NOT BEYOND NATURAL PRESUMPTION THAT UNDER SUCH AN ARRANGEMENT THE INFORMATION MIGHT BE GIVEN TO THE PROHIBITION AUTHORITIES ONLY WHEN DELIVERY TO THE OWNER WOULD BE DIFFICULT OR DANGEROUS, OR WHEN THE POSSESSOR OTHERWISE FACES A LOSS WHICH IT IS SOUGHT TO AVOID BY EFFECTING COLLECTION FROM THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE AGREEMENT. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 3, 6, 10, 14, 15, 21, 25, AND 33 OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, 41 STAT. 305, ET SEQ., AGAINST RECEIVING, TRANSPORTING, OR POSSESSING LIQUORS WOULD APPEAR TO MAKE IT INCUMBENT UPON ANY PERSON, FOR THEIR OWN PROTECTION, TO REFUSE TO RECEIVE SUSPICIOUS SHIPMENTS WITHOUT THEIR CONTENTS BEING DISCLOSED OR, IF INNOCENTLY RECEIVED AND THEN DISCOVERED TO BE CONTRABAND, TO IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE PROHIBITION OFFICERS TO AVOID ANY CHARGE AGAINST THE POSSESSOR BEING A PARTY TO THE LAW'S VIOLATION. INFORMATION FURNISHED AS A LEGAL DUTY OR AS A MATTER OF SELF-PROTECTION DOES NOT SUPPLY A GOOD CONSIDERATION FOR AN AGREEMENT TO PAY FOR SUCH INFORMATION.

THE NECESSITY FOR CORRECTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE THAT APPEARS TO BE PURSUED WILL BE BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

UPON REVIEW AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING, THERE IS CERTIFIED DUE CLAIMANT THE SUM OF $122.53.