A-16632, DECEMBER 23, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 412

A-16632: Dec 23, 1926

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THE CASE INCLUDING THE FUNDS WAS TAKEN OVER BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES FOR PROSECUTION. WHERE SUCH FUNDS HAVE BEEN RETAINED BY THE GOVERNMENT MERELY AS EVIDENCE. IT IS AVAILABLE FOR RETURN TO THE COUNTY OFFICIAL. 1926: RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 23. WAS CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED EXTORTION BY HAVING DEMANDED IN CONNECTION WITH INTERNAL-REVENUE MATTERS FROM ONE W. THE STATEMENT IS MADE THAT THAT SAME NIGHT THE MONEY WAS RECOVERED FROM THE PRIVATE BATHROOM OF AGENT SMILER. WHO WAS STOPPING AT ROOM 304. THE AGENT WAS ARRESTED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES. THE MONEY IN QUESTION HAVING BEEN USED AS EVIDENCE AND IS NOW IN THE CUSTODY OF TWO SPECIAL AGENT OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE.

A-16632, DECEMBER 23, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 412

PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT - PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE WHERE A COUNTY OFFICIAL ADVANCED FUNDS TO BE EXPENDED AS A BRIBE TEST IN APPREHENDING A FEDERAL INTERNAL-REVENUE AGENT, AND THE CASE INCLUDING THE FUNDS WAS TAKEN OVER BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES FOR PROSECUTION, SUCH COUNTY OFFICIAL MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE MONEY ADVANCED FROM THE APPROPRIATION "COLLECTING THE INTERNAL REVENUE, 1926.' HOWEVER, WHERE SUCH FUNDS HAVE BEEN RETAINED BY THE GOVERNMENT MERELY AS EVIDENCE, IT IS AVAILABLE FOR RETURN TO THE COUNTY OFFICIAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE COMMISSION OF INTERNAL REVENUE, DECEMBER 23, 1926:

RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 23, 1926, IN REFERENCE TO THE CLAIM OF RAY H. LINDSEY, DEPUTY TAX COLLECTOR, PINELLAS COUNTY, ST. PETERSBURG, FLA., FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF $1,000 ADVANCED APRIL 7, 1926, TO BE USED IN APPREHENDING AN INTERNAL-REVENUE AGENT IN THE ACCEPTANCE OF A BRIBE.

THE FACTS APPEAR TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

SOME TIME PRIOR TO APRIL 7, 1926, INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT DAVID A. SMILER, STATIONED AT ST. PETERSBURG, FLA., WAS CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED EXTORTION BY HAVING DEMANDED IN CONNECTION WITH INTERNAL-REVENUE MATTERS FROM ONE W. W. (JEFF) RIGDON $1,000 IN CASH. IT ALSO APPEARS THAT ON APRIL 7, 1926, THE CLAIMANT ADVANCED TO RIGDON THE SUM OF $1,000 IN BILLS FOR USE IN APPREHENDING THE AGENT, WHO ACCEPTED THE MONEY AS A BRIBE. THE STATEMENT IS MADE THAT THAT SAME NIGHT THE MONEY WAS RECOVERED FROM THE PRIVATE BATHROOM OF AGENT SMILER, WHO WAS STOPPING AT ROOM 304, PHEIL HOTEL, ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. THE AGENT WAS ARRESTED BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES, AND THEREAFTER THE GRAND JURY RETURNED TWO TRUE BILLS AGAINST HIM, THE MONEY IN QUESTION HAVING BEEN USED AS EVIDENCE AND IS NOW IN THE CUSTODY OF TWO SPECIAL AGENT OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, BEING HELD IN SAFETY DEPOSIT IN THE EXCHANGE NATIONAL BANK, TAMPA, FLA., AWAITING ITS USE AS EVIDENCE AT THE TRIAL IN A FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT.

THE CLAIMANT, RAY H. LINDSEY, WHO ADVANCED THE MONEY FROM COUNTY FUNDS, REQUESTS REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION "COLLECTING THE INTERNAL REVENUE, 1926.' THE VOUCHER BEARS THE APPROVAL OF THE CHIEF, INTELLIGENCE UNIT, BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE. ACCOMPANYING THE VOUCHER IS A STATEMENT BY SPECIAL AGENT KENNETH MORTON THAT "THIS AMOUNT WILL BE TURNED INTO THE TREASURY AFTER THIS CASE IS DISPOSED OF.'

SINCE THE MONEY REFERRED TO IS NOT AN INTERNAL-REVENUE COLLECTION, AND SINCE NEITHER THE ADVANCE BY MR. LINDSEY NOR THE REIMBURSEMENT TO HIM CAN BE REGARDED AS NECESSARY TO THE COLLECTION OF INTERNAL REVENUE,APPROPRIATION, SUPRA, IS NOT AVAILABLE TO MAKE THE REFUND. HOWEVER, AS THE MONEY IS MERELY RETAINED BY THE BUREAU AS EVIDENCE, IT IS AVAILABLE FOR RETURN TO THE CLAIMANT. YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW TO PAY THE CLAIM FROM PUBLIC FUNDS.