A-19657, NOVEMBER 2, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 307

A-19657: Nov 2, 1927

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INFORMERS' - PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PROHIBITION BUREAU WHOSE DUTY IT IS TO FURNISH SAID BUREAU WITH INFORMATION OF VIOLATIONS OF THE PROHIBITION LAW IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE INFORMER'S REWARD PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922. 1927: REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 18. WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT OF SAID CLAIM IS AUTHORIZED IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT AT THE TIME THE INFORMATION RESULTING IN THE SEIZURE OF THE AIRPLANE WAS FURNISHED THE CLAIMANT WAS A CONTRACT EMPLOYEE OF THE PROHIBITION DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. THIS CONTRACT WAS FOR THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 1. PAYMENT THEREUNDER WAS MADE ON MAY 4. THE CLAIMANT FURNISHED THE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS WITH INFORMATION REGARDING THE MOVEMENTS OF AN AIRPLANE ENGAGED IN RUM RUNNING AS A RESULT OF WHICH SAID PLANE WAS SEIZED ON MAY 5.

A-19657, NOVEMBER 2, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 307

REWARDS, INFORMERS' - PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PROHIBITION BUREAU WHOSE DUTY IT IS TO FURNISH SAID BUREAU WITH INFORMATION OF VIOLATIONS OF THE PROHIBITION LAW IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE INFORMER'S REWARD PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922, 42 STAT. 988, FOR REPORTING TO THE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS THE ACTIVITIES OF AN AIRPLANE ENGAGED IN RUM RUNNING.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOVEMBER 2, 1927:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 18, 1927, FILE 92883, TRANSMITTING THE DEPARTMENT'S FILE RELATIVE TO THE CLAIMS FILED BY EDWARD MCAULD UNDER SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922, 42 STAT. 988, FOR COMPENSATION AS INFORMER IN CONNECTION WITH THE SEIZURE OF A SEAPLANE AT MIAMI, FLA., ON MAY 5, 1926, WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT OF SAID CLAIM IS AUTHORIZED IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT AT THE TIME THE INFORMATION RESULTING IN THE SEIZURE OF THE AIRPLANE WAS FURNISHED THE CLAIMANT WAS A CONTRACT EMPLOYEE OF THE PROHIBITION DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON THE 1ST DAY OF APRIL, 1926, THE CLAIMANT ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT WITH THE PROHIBITION SERVICE TO FURNISH SAID SERVICE WITH INFORMATION REGARDING VIOLATIONS OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF $5 PER DAY. THIS CONTRACT WAS FOR THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 1, 1926, TO JUNE 30, 1926, AND PAYMENT THEREUNDER WAS MADE ON MAY 4, 1926, FOR THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 1, 1926, TO APRIL 30, 1926. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT SOME TIME DURING THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 1 TO MAY 5, 1926, THE CLAIMANT FURNISHED THE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS WITH INFORMATION REGARDING THE MOVEMENTS OF AN AIRPLANE ENGAGED IN RUM RUNNING AS A RESULT OF WHICH SAID PLANE WAS SEIZED ON MAY 5, 1926, BY THE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS. CLAIM WAS THEREUPON FILED UNDER SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922, SUPRA, READING AS FOLLOWS:

AWARD OF COMPENSATION.--- ANY PERSON NOT AN OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES WHO DETECTS AND SEIZES ANY VESSEL, VEHICLE, MERCHANDISE, OR BAGGAGE SUBJECT TO SEIZURE AND FORFEITURE UNDER THE CUSTOMS LAWS AND WHO REPORTS THE SAME TO AN OFFICER OF THE CUSTOMS, OR 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 DETECTION AND SEIZURE OR 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. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, AN AMOUNT RECOVERED UNDER A BAIL BOND SHALL BE DEEMED A RECOVERY OF A FINE INCURRED.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT THE FURNISHING OF THE INFORMATION FOR WHICH THE INSTANT CLAIM IS FILED WAS REQUIRED OF THE CLAIMANT IN HIS CAPACITY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PROHIBITION DEPARTMENT, THE PLANE BEING ENGAGED NOT ONLY IN VIOLATING THE TARIFF LAWS BUT ALSO IN VIOLATING THE PROHIBITION LAWS.

THE COMPENSATION PAID UNDER HIS CONTRACT COVERED HIS SERVICES IN FURNISHING INFORMATION TO THE PROHIBITION OFFICERS AND NOT ONLY IS HE PRECLUDED FROM RECEIVING THE INFORMER'S REWARD PROVIDED FOR IN THE TARIFF ACT BECAUSE HE WAS AN EMPLOYEE OR OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE TIME BEING, BUT HE COULD NOT, BY DERELICTION OF DUTY IN NOT REPORTING THE MATTER TO THE PROHIBITION OFFICIALS BUT REPORTING IT TO THE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS INSTEAD, OBTAIN EXTRA COMPENSATION THEREBY. PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM IS NOT AUTHORIZED.