A-42820, JUNE 15, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 486

A-42820: Jun 15, 1932

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ARE NOT FUNDS UPON WHICH THERE IS AUTHORITY UNDER SECTION 619 OF THE SAME ACT FOR THE AWARDING OF COMPENSATION TO INFORMERS. WHO WAS ARRESTED AND CONVICTED FOR VIOLATION OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922. WAS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ILLEGAL CONCEALMENT AND TRANSPORTATION OF LIQUOR IMPORTED CONTRARY TO LAW AND OFFERING THE SUM OF $570.00 AS A BRIBE TO A CUSTOMS OFFICER. HEDDERTON WAS INDICTED FOR VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 601 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922. THE SECOND CHARGE WAS DISMISSED AND A SUSPENDED SENTENCE WAS IMPOSED UNDER THE THIRD CHARGE. NO ACTION WAS TAKEN BY THE COURT RELATIVE TO THE DISPOSITION OF THE BRIBE MONEY. THE BRIBE MONEY WAS DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY BY THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS AT NEW YORK.

A-42820, JUNE 15, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 486

CUSTOMS SERVICE - BRIBES - COMPENSATION AWARDS MONEYS RECEIVED BY CUSTOMS OFFICERS AS BRIBES UNDER SECTION 601 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1922, 42 STAT. 986, ARE NOT FUNDS UPON WHICH THERE IS AUTHORITY UNDER SECTION 619 OF THE SAME ACT FOR THE AWARDING OF COMPENSATION TO INFORMERS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 15, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 6, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

I AM TRANSMITTING HEREWITH THE DEPARTMENT'S FILE RELATIVE TO THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION UNDER SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT TO AN INFORMER IN THE CASE OF STEPHEN HEDDERTON, WHO WAS ARRESTED AND CONVICTED FOR VIOLATION OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922.

THE DEFENDANT, IT APPEARS, WAS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ILLEGAL CONCEALMENT AND TRANSPORTATION OF LIQUOR IMPORTED CONTRARY TO LAW AND OFFERING THE SUM OF $570.00 AS A BRIBE TO A CUSTOMS OFFICER. MR. HEDDERTON WAS INDICTED FOR VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 601 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922, THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT OF 1918 AND 593 (B) OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922. THE COURT SENTENCED THE DEFENDANT TO BE IMPRISONED FOR A TERM OF THREE MONTHS UNDER THE FIRST CHARGE, THE SECOND CHARGE WAS DISMISSED AND A SUSPENDED SENTENCE WAS IMPOSED UNDER THE THIRD CHARGE.

NO ACTION WAS TAKEN BY THE COURT RELATIVE TO THE DISPOSITION OF THE BRIBE MONEY. THE BRIBE MONEY WAS DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY BY THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS AT NEW YORK, APRIL 22, 1929, AND REPORTED IN "SCHEDULE 5, ABSTRACT L, MISCELLANEOUS FINES, COLLECTIONS ETC., APRIL 29, 1929, AS BRIBES--- $570.00.'

THE DEPARTMENT REQUESTS YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER MONEY TENDERED AS A BRIBE IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 601 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922 AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS A CUSTOMS RECEIPT IS TO CONSIDERED A RECOVERY UNDER THE CUSTOMS LAWS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT.

PLEASE RETURN THE DEPARTMENT'S FILE WITH YOUR REPLY.

ADDITIONAL FACTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE MATTER ARE STATED IN LETTER OF MARCH 4, 1932, FROM THE CUSTOMS AGENT IN CHARGE, SMUGGLING INVESTIGATIONS, AT NEW YORK, TO THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, AS FOLLOWS:

IN CONNECTION WITH THE SEIZURE OF Q.M. AND S. CAR 4573, MADE BY AGENTS OF THIS OFFICE AT THE VAN NEST STATION OF THE NEW YORK, NEW HAVEN AND HARTFORD R.R. ON NOVEMBER 2, 1928, AT WHICH TIME 99 BARRELS OF CANADIAN ALE AND TWO TRUCKS WERE SEIZED, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THE LIBEL WHICH HAD BEEN FILED AGAINST THE TRUCKS WAS DISMISSED BY JUDGE GODDARD ON OCTOBER 5, 1931. PERMISSION WAS GIVEN TO AMEND THE LIBEL, HOWEVER, BUT IN THE MEANTIME THE CLAIMANT MADE AN OFFER OF $250, AND THIS WAS ACCEPTED AND TURNED OVER TO THE FEDERAL PROHIBITION ADMINISTRATOR.

THE INFORMATION UPON WHICH THIS OFFICE PREDICATED ITS ACTION WHICH RESULTED IN THE SEIZURE OF THIS CANADIAN ALE AND THE TWO TRUCKS WAS FURNISHED BY LIEUTENANT JOHN T. KNOX, OF THE NEW HAVEN R.R. POLICE, 3150 ROBERTS AVENUE, BRONX, N.Y., AND IN CONNECTION THEREWITH HE FILED INFORMER'S CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION.

SINCE THE PROCEEDS, $250.00, WHICH HAD BEEN OFFERED FOR THE TRUCKS WAS SENT TO THE FEDERAL PROHIBITION ADMINISTRATOR AND IS NOT AVAILABLE, THE QUESTION IS RAISED AS TO WHETHER KNOX IS ENTITLED TO 25 PERCENT OF THE $570.00 WHICH HAD BEEN TAKEN AS BRIBE MONEY. YOUR DECISION IN THIS MATTER IS REQUESTED, AND IT IS URGED, BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE THAT INFORMERS AND PARTICULARLY INFORMERS OF THE TYPE OF LIEUTENANT KNOX BE ENCOURAGED.

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

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 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 FINES, 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 SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THIS SECTION HAS PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE AWARDING OF COMPENSATION FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE RECOVERY OF DUTIES WITHHELD, OR FINES, PENALTIES, AND FORFEITURES INCURRED, AND THE PHRASE "AMOUNT RECOVERED" USED IN THIS SECTION AS A BASIS FOR THE AWARDING OF COMPENSATION MUST BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING RELATION TO THE SAME CLASSES OF RECOVERIES, THAT IS TO SAY, DUTIES WITHHELD, FINES, PENALTIES OR FORFEITURES INCURRED, EXCEPT AS TO RECOVERIES UNDER BAIL BONDS WHICH ARE, ALSO, SPECIFICALLY INCLUDED IN THE LAST PART OF THE SECTION. THERE IS NO INDICATION, HOWEVER, THAT THE "AMOUNT RECOVERED" AS APPEARING IN THIS SECTION WAS INTENDED TO COVER ALSO AMOUNTS OFFERED TO OR RECEIVED BY CUSTOMS OFFICERS AS BRIBES AND IT MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 619 OF THE TARIFF ACT OF 1922, UPON THE AMOUNT OF $570 RECEIVED BY THE CUSTOMS AUTHORITIES UNDER SECTION 601 OF THE SAME ACT. PRIMARILY FORFEITURE RELATES TO THE THING WHICH WOULD BE THE SUBJECT OF CUSTOMS DUTIES, RATHER THAN THAT (THE BRIBE) WHICH IS OFFERED OR RECEIVED TO PERMIT THE ESCAPE OF THE THING OR PERSON FROM THE PROVISIONS OF LAW.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE DISPOSITION OF MONEYS RECEIVED AS BRIBES, IT WAS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 7, 1925, 43 STAT. 726, AS FOLLOWS:

THAT HEREAFTER ALL MONEYS RECEIVED OR TENDERED IN EVIDENCE IN ANY CASE, PROCEEDING, OR INVESTIGATION IN ANY UNITED STATES COURT, OR BEFORE ANY OFFICER THEREOF, WHICH HAVE BEEN PAID TO OR RECEIVED BY ANY OFFICIAL AS A BRIBE, SHALL AFTER THE CONCLUSION AND FINAL DISPOSITION OF THE PARTICULAR CASE, PROCEEDING, OR INVESTIGATION IN WHICH IT WAS RECEIVED AS EVIDENCE, BE DEPOSITED IN THE REGISTRY OF THE COURT TO BE DISPOSED OF UNDER AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ORDER, JUDGMENT, OR DECREE OF THE SAID COURT, TO BE SUBJECT, HOWEVER, TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 996 REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED.

THE RECORD IN THE PRESENT CASE DOES NOT DISCLOSE WHETHER THE MONEY WAS TENDERED OR PRODUCED IN EVIDENCE IN THE COURT PROCEEDINGS, BUT IT APPEARS THAT NO ACTION WAS TAKEN BY THE COURT FOR THE DISPOSITION OF THE SAME. THEREFORE, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE DEPOSITING AND COVERING OF THE MONEY INTO THE TREASURY AS "MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS" AS WAS DONE, WAS A PROPER DISPOSITION OF THE SAME.