A-13722, MAY 26, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 938

A-13722: May 26, 1926

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WHERE THE VEHICLE IS SOLD THE PROCEEDS OF SALE MAY NOT BE REFUNDED TO THE FORMER LEGAL OWNER. THE CLAIMANT CONTENDS THAT IT IS THE LEGAL OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE. THAT IT IS ACCORDINGLY ENTITLED TO THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE. THE CLAIMANT SUBMITS A COPY OF A LETTER PURPORTING TO HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED TO ITS ATTORNEYS . IN WHICH THE CLAIM IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED UNDER SECTION 3460. STATES THAT THE "PETITION IS. HAVE NO APPLICATION TO FORFEITURES UNDER SECTION 3450. THEY HAVE NO RELATION TO THE LATTER SECTION (3450). NOR IS THEIR REMEDY APPLICABLE TO CASES UNDER THAT SECTION.'. THE PETITION ITSELF WAS INITIATED BY PROCEEDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT AT KNOXVILLE. IS NO LONGER IN FORCE.

A-13722, MAY 26, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 938

SEIZURE OF VEHICLES UNDER SECTION 3450, REVISED STATUTES THE SEIZURE OF AN AUTOMOBILE UNDER SECTION 3450 OF THE REVISED STATUTES FORFEITS THE VEHICLE IRRESPECTIVE OF ANY LIENS OR TITLE IN AN INNOCENT PARTY, AND WHERE THE VEHICLE IS SOLD THE PROCEEDS OF SALE MAY NOT BE REFUNDED TO THE FORMER LEGAL OWNER, THE REMEDIES PROVIDED BY SECTIONS 3460 AND 3461 OF THE REVISED STATUTES HAVING NO APPLICATION TO PROCEEDINGS UNDER SAID SECTION 3450.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MAY 26, 1926:

THE EQUITABLE CREDIT COMPANY HAS REQUESTED REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT 0113761 OF JANUARY 6, 1926, DISALLOWING ITS CLAIM FOR THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE OF ONE FORD TOURING CAR SEIZED AND SOLD OCTOBER 4, 1924, UNDER SECTION 3450, REVISED STATUTES. THE CLAIMANT CONTENDS THAT IT IS THE LEGAL OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE, HAVING PURCHASED THE TITLE FROM THE VESTER MOTOR COMPANY WHICH SOLD THE AUTOMOBILE ON A CONDITIONAL BILL OF SALE THAT IT HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE ILLEGAL USE TO BE MADE OF THE CAR; AND THAT IT IS ACCORDINGLY ENTITLED TO THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE, THE CLAIM BEING ASSERTED VARIOUSLY AS UNDER SECTIONS 3460, 3461, AND 5292, REVISED STATUTES.

THE CLAIMANT SUBMITS A COPY OF A LETTER PURPORTING TO HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED TO ITS ATTORNEYS ,OCT. 19, 25" BY THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, IN WHICH THE CLAIM IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED UNDER SECTION 3460, REVISED STATUTES, AND STATES THAT THE "PETITION IS, THEREFORE, GRANTED.' A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, OCTOBER 12, 1925, BY THE PROHIBITION COMMISSIONER, FORWARDS THE SAME PETITION TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER SECTION 3461, REVISED STATUTES. THESE TWO SECTIONS OF THE REVISED STATUTES, HOWEVER, HAVE NO APPLICATION TO FORFEITURES UNDER SECTION 3450. THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT, IN THE CASE OF GOLDSMITH-GRANT CO. V. UNITED STATES, 254 U.S. 505, WITH REFERENCE TO SAID SECTIONS, STATED: ,THEY HAVE NO RELATION TO THE LATTER SECTION (3450), NOR IS THEIR REMEDY APPLICABLE TO CASES UNDER THAT SECTION.'

THE PETITION ITSELF WAS INITIATED BY PROCEEDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT AT KNOXVILLE, TENN., AND THE DECREE OR FINDING OF THE JUDGE OF THAT COURT DATED AUGUST 10, 1925, DIRECTS THAT THE RECORD BE TRANSMITTED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 5292, REVISED STATUTES. THIS SECTION OF THE REVISED STATUTES, HOWEVER, IS NO LONGER IN FORCE, HAVING BEEN EXPRESSLY REPEALED BY THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1922, 42 STAT. 989.

THIS LEAVES FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3450, REVISED STATUTES, UNDER WHICH THE SEIZURE WAS MADE. THIS SECTION PROVIDES:

WHENEVER ANY GOODS OR COMMODITIES FOR OR IN RESPECT WHEREOF ANY TAX IS OR SHALL BE IMPOSED, OR ANY MATERIALS, UTENSILS, OR VESSELS PROPER OR INTENDED TO BE MADE USE OF FOR OR IN THE MAKING OF SUCH GOODS OR COMMODITIES ARE REMOVED, OR ARE DEPOSITED OR CONCEALED IN ANY PLACE, WITH INTENT TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES OF SUCH TAX, OR ANY PART THEREOF, ALL SUCH GOODS AND COMMODITIES, AND ALL SUCH MATERIALS, UTENSILS, AND VESSELS, RESPECTIVELY, SHALL BE FORFEITED; AND IN EVERY SUCH CASE ALL THE CASKS, VESSELS, CASES, OR OTHER PACKAGES WHATSOEVER, CONTAINING, OR WHICH SHALL HAVE CONTAINED, SUCH GOODS OR COMMODITIES, RESPECTIVELY, AND EVERY VESSEL, BOAT, CART, CARRIAGE, OR OTHER CONVEYANCE WHATSOEVER, AND ALL HORSES OR OTHER ANIMALS, AND ALL THINGS USED IN THE REMOVAL OR FOR THE DEPOSIT OR CONCEALMENT THEREOF, RESPECTIVELY, SHALL BE FORFEITED. * * *

THE PROCEEDINGS UNDER THIS SECTION ARE PROCEEDINGS IN REM, THE STATUTE TREATING THE THING AS THE OFFENDER, AND AN AUTOMOBILE USED BY A PERSON WHO PURCHASED IT ON CREDIT IS SUBJECT TO LIBEL AND FORFEITURE UNDER THIS SECTION ALTHOUGH THE OWNER HAD NO NOTICE OF THE FORBIDDEN USE. GOLDSMITH- GRANT CO. V. UNITED STATES, 254 U.S. 505. THE INNOCENCE OF THE OWNER IS NO DEFENSE. UNITED STATES V. MINCEY, 254 FED.REP. 287.

PROCEEDINGS UNDER SECTION 3450, REVISED STATUTES, ARE ENTIRELY SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM PROCEEDINGS UNDER THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, 4COMP. GEN. 594. NEITHER WAS SAID SECTION REPEALED BY THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT. UNITED STATES V. ONE BUICK ROADSTER, 280 FED.REP. 517. THE FORFEITURE OF THE AUTOMOBILE UNDER SECTION 3450, REVISED STATUTES, DIVESTED THE CLAIMANT OF ANY RIGHT OR TITLE THEREIN OR IN THE PROCEEDS OF THE SALE THEREOF, AND THERE IS NO STATUTE UNDER WHICH RELIEF MAY BE AFFORDED IT AT THIS TIME. 2 COMP. GEN. 624.