A-12917, FEBRUARY 26, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 665

A-12917: Feb 26, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

FOR INFORMATION FURNISHED AS TO VIOLATIONS OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS ARE NOT PERSONAL GRATUITIES BUT ARE IN THE NATURE OF COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES. THE RIGHT TO PAYMENT BECOMES VESTED WHEN THE SERVICES ARE RENDERED AND IS NOT DEFEATED BY THE DEATH OF THE INFORMER. THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH AWARDS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1924 IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JANUARY 3. SIMILAR APPROPRIATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR. PAYMENTS FOR INFORMATION SO FURNISHED AS TO VIOLATIONS OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS ARE NOT PERSONAL GRATUITIES BUT ARE RATHER IN THE NATURE OF COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES RENDERED AND HAVE A DIRECT RELATION TO THE BENEFIT DERIVED FROM SUCH INFORMATION BY THE UNITED STATES IN THAT THEY MAY NOT EXCEED 25 PERCENT OF THE NET AMOUNT RECOVERED.

A-12917, FEBRUARY 26, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 665

CUSTOMS SERVICE - REWARDS TO INFORMERS PAYMENTS, UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 619 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1922, 42 STAT. 988, FOR INFORMATION FURNISHED AS TO VIOLATIONS OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS ARE NOT PERSONAL GRATUITIES BUT ARE IN THE NATURE OF COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES. THE RIGHT TO PAYMENT BECOMES VESTED WHEN THE SERVICES ARE RENDERED AND IS NOT DEFEATED BY THE DEATH OF THE INFORMER. PROPER CLAIM FOR SUCH COMPENSATION MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN PRESENTED BY THE WIDOW OF AN INFORMER HOLDING LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, FEBRUARY 26, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 29, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED, AS FOLLOWS:

I ENCLOSE HEREWITH A CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION AS INFORMER SUBMITTED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922 BY MRS. MARIE A. H. HYNDMAN, THE WIDOW OF ADOLPH J. HYNDMAN AND ADMINISTRATRIX OF HIS ESTATE.

ADOLPH J. HYNDMAN IF NOW LIVING WOULD BE ENTITLED TO AN AWARD OF COMPENSATION AS INFORMER UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID SECTION BECAUSE HE GAVE ORIGINAL INFORMATION WHICH LED TO THE RECOVERY UNDER THE CUSTOMS LAWS OF $612 FROM THE NEW YORK WILLOW FURNITURE CO.

THE DEPARTMENT DESIRES YOUR OPINION AS TO WHETHER AN AWARD MAY BE PAID TO THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF AN INFORMER WHO HAS DIED PRIOR TO AN AWARD BEING MADE TO HIM BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT.

SECTION 619 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1922, 42 STAT. 988, PROVIDES:

AWARD OF COMPENSATION.---ANY PERSON NOT AN OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES * * * WHO FURNISHES TO A DISTRICT ATTORNEY, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, OR TO ANY CUSTOMS OFFICER ORIGINAL INFORMATION CONCERNING ANY FRAUD UPON THE CUSTOMS REVENUE, OR A VIOLATION OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS PERPETRATED OR CONTEMPLATED, WHICH * * * INFORMATION LEADS TO A RECOVERY OF ANY DUTIES WITHHELD, OR OF ANY FINE, PENALTY OR FORFEITURE INCURRED, MAY BE AWARDED AND PAID BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY A COMPENSATION OF 25 PERCENTUM OF THE NET AMOUNT RECOVERED, BUT NOT TO EXCEED $50,000 IN ANY CASE, WHICH SHALL BE PAID OUT OF MONEYS APPROPRIATED FOR THAT PURPOSE.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH AWARDS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1924 IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JANUARY 3, 1923, 42 STAT. 1094, AS FOLLOWS:

COMPENSATION IN LIEU OF MOIETIES: FOR COMPENSATION IN LIEU OF MOIETIES IN CERTAIN CASES UNDER THE CUSTOMS LAWS, $50,000.

SIMILAR APPROPRIATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR.

PAYMENTS FOR INFORMATION SO FURNISHED AS TO VIOLATIONS OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS ARE NOT PERSONAL GRATUITIES BUT ARE RATHER IN THE NATURE OF COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES RENDERED AND HAVE A DIRECT RELATION TO THE BENEFIT DERIVED FROM SUCH INFORMATION BY THE UNITED STATES IN THAT THEY MAY NOT EXCEED 25 PERCENT OF THE NET AMOUNT RECOVERED. THE COMPENSATION HAVING BEEN EARNED BY FURNISHING INFORMATION RESULTING IN A RECOVERY, THE RIGHT TO FILE A CLAIM THEREFOR BECOMES VESTED IN THE INFORMER, IS NOT DEFEATED BY HIS DEATH, AND THE AMOUNT AWARDED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY MAY BE PAID TO HIS LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE EVEN THOUGH NO CLAIM WAS FILED NOR AWARD MADE UNTIL AFTER THE DEATH OF THE INFORMER.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO PAYING TO THE ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF A. J. HYNDMAN ANY AMOUNT LEGALLY AWARDED THE DECEASED UNDER SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922, SUPRA, BY REASON OF HIS HAVING FURNISHED INFORMATION.

THE "INFORMER'S CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION" IS HEREWITH RETURNED, ATTENTION BEING INVITED TO THE FACT THAT ALTHOUGH THE CLAIM IS ASSERTED BY THE WIDOW AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF THE INFORMER, SHE CERTIFIED THAT "I GAVE THE ORIGINAL INFORMATION," AND THE ASSISTANT COLLECTOR ALSO CERTIFIES THAT THE "ABOVE-MENTIONED CLAIMANT FURNISHED THE ORIGINAL INFORMATION.' THESE INACCURACIES SHOULD BE CORRECTED AND PROPER EVIDENCE OF THE ADMINISTRATRIX'S APPOINTMENT SHOULD BE FILED BEFORE PAYMENT IS MADE.

IF AND WHEN THE AWARD IS MADE AND THE CLAIM PERFECTED, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE PAPERS BE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT.