A-65201, DECEMBER 3, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 466

A-65201: Dec 3, 1935

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ARE FOR REFUNDING TO THE GOVERNMENT NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH CLAIM MAY HAVE BEEN "IN GOOD FAITH" AT ANOTHER'S SUGGESTION. MAY HAVE RESULTED IN A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT. SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ARE COVERED BY THE FOLLOWING- DESCRIBED VOUCHERS PAID TO DR. 1934 THE ABOVE VOUCHERS SHOW TRAVEL TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED BY DR. SUBSEQUENT TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED IS EXPLAINED IN MEMORANDA FROM THE REGIONAL ACCOUNTANT ATTACHED TO EACH VOUCHER (EXCEPT VOUCHER 9451). BANQUER IS ON CALL FROM THIS OFFICE TO TREAT BENEFICIARIES WHO ARE IN NEED OF MEDICAL TREATMENT AND WHO TELEPHONE HERE FOR THE SERVICES OF A PHYSICIAN. WHEN HE GOES OUT ON A CALL HE RETURNS HERE IN ORDER TO BE AVAILABLE FOR SUBSEQUENT CALLS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN RECEIVED WHILE HE WAS OUT AND UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES ONE TRAVEL ORDER WAS MADE OUT AT THE END OF THE DAY TO COVER TRAVEL PERFORMED DURING THAT DAY.

A-65201, DECEMBER 3, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 466

TRAVELING EXPENSES - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE - FALSIFIED EXPENSE ACCOUNTS PAYMENTS MADE UPON FALSIFIED TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS PRESENTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF OPERATING A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A COMMUTED BASIS OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS MODIFIED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ARE FOR REFUNDING TO THE GOVERNMENT NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH CLAIM MAY HAVE BEEN "IN GOOD FAITH" AT ANOTHER'S SUGGESTION, AND MAY HAVE RESULTED IN A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, DECEMBER 3, 1935:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1935, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHAT ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN IN THE MATTER OF THE IRREGULARITIES, ETC., DISCOVERED IN THE TRAVEL ACCOUNTS OF DR. J. E. BANQUER, OUT-PATIENT PHYSICIAN, ON DUTY WITH THE BOSTON REGIONAL OFFICE OF YOUR ADMINISTRATION, SUBMITTED OVER THE PERIOD APRIL 1, 1931, TO JANUARY 31, 1934.

THE TRAVEL ACCOUNTS IN QUESTION INVOLVING CHARGES FOR TRANSPORTATION BY TRAIN, TAXI, ETC., AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ARE COVERED BY THE FOLLOWING- DESCRIBED VOUCHERS PAID TO DR. BANQUER BY H. H. BARRACLOUGH, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, BOSTON, MASS., UNDERHIS SYMBOL NO. 11472:

CHART

VOUCHER

NO. PERIOD OF TRAVEL AMOUNT DATE PAID

2452 APR. 1-30, 1931 -------------------- $93.72 SEPT. 19, 1931

1459 MAY 1-29, 1931 --------------------- 83.46 AUG. 15, 1931

964 JUNE 2-25, 1931 -------------------- 61.30 AUG. 1, 1931

2704 JULY 1-31, 1931 -------------------- 61.74 SEPT. 26, 1931

3263AUG. 18-24, 1931 ------------------- 12.60 OCT. 16, 1931

4570 SEPT. 1-29, 1931 ------------------- 53.25 DEC. 4, 1931

4961 OCT. 5-29, 1931 -------------------- 50.06 DEC. 14, 1931

5754 NOV. 2-30, 1931 -------------------- 44.53 JAN. 13, 1932

6041 DEC. 4-31, 1931 -------------------- 52.65 JAN. 25, 1932

7843 JAN. 4-28, 1932 -------------------- 56.95 MAR. 21, 1932

6976 FEB. 3-11, 1932 -------------------- 26.11 FEB. 25, 1932

8817 MAR. 2-31, 1932 -------------------- 66.08 APR. 21, 1932

9451 APR. 5-30, 1932 -------------------- 54.43 MAY 12, 1932

10133 MAY 2-27, 1932 --------------------- 46.38 JUNE 6, 1932

854 JUNE 1-29, 1932 -------------------- 62.98 AUG. 8, 1932

1434 JULY 5-28, 1932 -------------------- 45.90 AUG. 25, 1932

2207 AUG. 16-31, 1932 ------------------- 35.82 SEPT. 23, 1932

3176 SEPT. 6-30, 1932 ------------------- 54.69 OCT. 27, 1932

3707 OCT. 3-31, 1932 -------------------- 58.98 NOV. 15, 1932

4614 NOV. 1-30, 1932 -------------------- 54.15 DEC. 14, 1932

5471 DEC. 5-28, 1932 -------------------- 38.68 JAN. 21, 1933

6173 JAN. 4-31, 1933 -------------------- 51.74 FEB. 24, 1933

7769 MAR. 1-31, 1933 -------------------- 53.29 MAY 5, 1933

7768 APR. 4-26, 1933 -------------------- 34.22 MAY 5, 1933

8594 MAY 4-29, 1933 --------------------- 50.73 JUNE 15, 1933

169 JUNE 1-28, 1933 -------------------- 49.41 JULY 27, 1933

865 JULY 7-27, 1933 -------------------- 45.91 SEPT. 2, 1933

1345 AUG. 17-31, 1933 ------------------- 41.71 OCT. 6, 1933

1780 SEPT. 1-29, 1933 ------------------- 42.94 OCT. 28, 1933

2285 OCT. 4-31, 1933 -------------------- 42.03 NOV. 25, 1933

3093 NOV. 14-29, 1933 ------------------- 37.67 JAN. 10, 1934

3971 DEC. 4-29, 1933 -------------------- 34.86 FEB. 27, 1934

3990 JAN. 15-25, 1934 ------------------- 35.64 FEB. 27, 1934

THE ABOVE VOUCHERS SHOW TRAVEL TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED BY DR. BANQUER FROM BOSTON TO NUMEROUS NEARBY PLACES UPON TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR "USUAL AND NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES" AND "EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED FOR SUBSISTENCE NOT TO EXCEED $7 PER DAY"- - A TRAVEL ORDER HAVING BEEN ISSUED FOR EACH DAY OF TRAVEL, SUBSEQUENT TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED IS EXPLAINED IN MEMORANDA FROM THE REGIONAL ACCOUNTANT ATTACHED TO EACH VOUCHER (EXCEPT VOUCHER 9451), READING AS FOLLOWS:

IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED AS STATED ON THE ATTACHED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF DR. J. E. BANQUER, IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED THAT DR. BANQUER IS ON CALL FROM THIS OFFICE TO TREAT BENEFICIARIES WHO ARE IN NEED OF MEDICAL TREATMENT AND WHO TELEPHONE HERE FOR THE SERVICES OF A PHYSICIAN.

WHEN HE GOES OUT ON A CALL HE RETURNS HERE IN ORDER TO BE AVAILABLE FOR SUBSEQUENT CALLS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN RECEIVED WHILE HE WAS OUT AND UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES ONE TRAVEL ORDER WAS MADE OUT AT THE END OF THE DAY TO COVER TRAVEL PERFORMED DURING THAT DAY.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY YOUR ADMINISTRATION RELATIVE TO THE FOREGOING VOUCHERS YOU STATE:

* * * AS A RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATION IT WAS DETERMINED TO REQUIRE DR. BANQUER TO REFUND TO THE UNITED STATES THE AMOUNT OF $88.81, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF AVAILABLE ROUND TRIP TICKETS FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED BY HIM AND THE COST OF RAILROAD TRAVEL AS SHOWN ON HIS TRAVEL VOUCHERS TO HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR WHICH HE HAD BEEN REIMBURSED. * * *

A DETAILED LIST--- TOO VOLUMINOUS FOR REPORTING HERE--- WAS FURNISHED BY YOU SETTING FORTH THE INDIVIDUAL ITEMS MAKING UP THE TOTAL DIFFERENCE THUS REPORTED.

YOU REPORT THAT WHEN DR. BANQUER WAS NOTIFIED TO REFUND THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION, HE REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER IN A LETTER DATED AUGUST 19, 1935, TO THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, AS FOLLOWS:

I BEG TO PROTEST REIMBURSEMENT OF $88.81 AS REQUESTED IN YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 1, 1935 (DAA-A-X), FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

1. THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS MADE IN GOOD FAITH. ROUND-TRIP TICKETS WERE NOT PROCURED FOR THE REASON THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE IN ADVANCE WHETHER OR NOT A GIVEN DESTINATION WOULD BE A FINAL DESTINATION. MEDICAL CALLS WERE TAKEN AND ATTENDED TO AS THEY WERE RECEIVED, FREQUENTLY NECESSITATING CANCELLATION OF A PROPOSED POINT OF RETURN TO OFFICIAL STATION AND SUBSTITUTION OF A SIDE CALL WITH A DIFFERENT POINT OF RETURN.

2. REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED FOR ROUND-TRIP FARES ON THE B. AND M. RAILROAD PRIOR TO MAY 1, 1933, WHEN, AS A MATTER OF FACT, NO ROUND-TRIP FARES WERE AVAILABLE PRIOR TO THAT DATE.

I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT THE ABOVE MATTER BE GIVEN RECONSIDERATION.

WITH RESPECT TO THE FIRST CONTENTION RAISED BY DR. BANQUER, AN EXAMINATION OF THE VOUCHERS HEREINBEFORE LISTED FAILS TO DISCLOSE A SINGLE INSTANCE IN WHICH HE REPORTED A RETURN TO BOSTON FROM A POINT DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE TO WHICH HE PROCEEDED FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION, NAMELY, BOSTON. THE INCONSISTENCY OF THIS CONTENTION WITH THE DATA SHOWN IN THE SEVERAL VOUCHERS IN RESPECT OF THE POINTS BETWEEN WHICH TRAVEL IS PURPORTED TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED IS, IN A DEGREE, EXPLAINED IN THE SWORN TESTIMONY OF DR. BANQUER OBTAINED BY AN INVESTIGATOR OF YOUR ADMINISTRATION, WHICH TESTIMONY IS REPORTED IN YOUR LETTER TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

Q. IT IS YOUR TESTIMONY THAT THE VOUCHERS DO NOT, IN FACT, STATE THE TRAVEL AS PERFORMED IN SOME INSTANCES?

A. THE INSTANCES BEING WHERE I HAVE EITHER LEFT THE TRAIN BEFORE REACHING BOSTON TO MAKE OTHER CALLS OR WHERE I HAVE BEEN PICKED UP BY AUTOMOBILE TO MAKE OTHER CALLS.

Q. WOULD, IN THESE INSTANCES, A VOUCHER SHOW RETURN BY TRAIN?

A. YES, SIR.

Q. HOW MANY TIMES WOULD YOU SAY THIS HAPPENED? WHILE TRAVELING BY TRAIN?

A. I CAN-T SAY DEFINITELY. IT HAPPENED PLENTY OF TIMES. BUT I-VE DONE JUST EXACTLY THAT, EITHER LEFT THE TRAIN, PICKED UP BY AUTOMOBILE, OR IF I STARTED TO EXPLAIN THOSE THINGS ON A VOUCHER, I-D CERTAINLY HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF DIFFICULTY, FOR OFTEN IT WOULD LOOK AS THOUGH I-D LEFT OFF IN MIDAIR SOMEWHERE.

Q. DO YOU REALIZE THAT THE STATEMENT OF A VOUCHER REQUIRES A CERTIFICATE FROM YOU THAT THE VOUCHER IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TRAVEL PERFORMED?

A. INASMUCH AS I WAS STILL SAVING MONEY, I COULDN-T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT, AND I STILL MAINTAIN THAT EVERY TIME THAT WAS DONE, I WAS STILL SAVING THE GOVERNMENT MONEY. ON THE FACE OF IT, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT I HAD TRAVELED DIRECTLY BACK TO BOSTON, I STILL MAINTAIN THAT BY MY SIDE TRIPS AND CLEANING UP WORK ON THE SIDE, I WAS ACTUALLY SAVING MONEY, NOT ONLY IN TRAVEL BUT IN THE AMOUNT OF WORK PERFORMED. ALTHOUGH IT APPEARS ON THE VOUCHER THAT I RETURNED TO BOSTON, ACTUALLY I DID NOT.

YOUR LETTER FURTHER REPORTS THE TESTIMONY OF DR. BANQUER'S OFFICIAL SUPERIOR, DR. RICHARD T. LEADER, CONCERNING DR. BANQUER'S TRAVEL ACCOUNT IN QUESTION, AS FOLLOWS:

Q. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, IF ANY, IN DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT TRAVEL BY PRIVATE AUTO IS MORE DESIRABLE FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE AND SERVICE STANDPOINT, THAN BY THE USUAL METHOD?

A. I AM MUCH MORE FAMILIAR WITH REQUIREMENTS OF TRAVEL OF OUR DR. J. E. BANQUER WHO DOES OUR OUTSIDE WORK, SO-CALLED, THAN I AM WITH THAT TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THE SOCIAL PSYCHIATRIC FOLLOW-UP WORKERS, OR BY OUR FORMER NURSING STAFF. IT IS NECESSARY TO GO BACK A BIT IN ORDER FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION THAT CONFRONTS A REGIONAL OFFICE SUCH AS BOSTON. WE FORMERLY HAD GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILES FOR OUR USE, AND ONE CAR (A FORD) WAS ASSIGNED TO DR. BANQUER. LATER, BECAUSE OF ITS NONSERVICEABLE CONDITION THE DOCTOR BEGAN TO USE HIS OWN PRIVATE CAR, AND ULTIMATELY THE GOVERNMENT CAR WAS DECLARED SURPLUS. THE MATTER OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS EXPENSES OF TRAVEL WAS OFTEN DISCUSSED. IT APPEARS THAT THE REGIONAL ACCOUNTANT GENERALLY MADE DECISIONS AS TO WHAT WAS REQUIRED OF DR. BANQUER. I BELIEVE THAT AT ONE TIME A DECISION WAS MADE THAT THE ONLY WAY THAT DR. BANQUER COULD BE REIMBURSED WAS AT THE RATE OF RAILROAD FARE OR CAR TOKENS BETWEEN THIS OFFICE AND THE POINT OF DESTINATION. I KNOW THAT THIS WAS UNSATISFACTORY. THE DOCTOR FOUND IT TO BE MOST COMPLICATED ARRANGEMENTS. LATER THIS METHOD OF REIMBURSEMENT WAS DISCONTINUED AND HE WAS ALLOWED SO MUCH A MILE--- I BELIEVE THE AMOUNT WAS $0.04 PER MILE--- BY THE REGIONAL ACCOUNTANT. IT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT DR. BANQUER SHOULD TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE AS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO DO THE WORK INCUMBENT UPON HIM BY ANY OTHER METHOD OF TRAVEL. I THINK OUR OFFICE IS FORTUNATE IN HAVING A DOCTOR WHO WOULD USE HIS OWN PRIVATE CAR FOR GOVERNMENT PURPOSES; IN FACT THERE IS NO OTHER DOCTOR IN OUR OFFICE WHO WAS INCLINED TO DO SO WHEN DR. BANQUER ACCEPTED THIS APPOINTMENT. THE MATTER OF ACCOUNTING FOR HIS MILEAGE IS, NO DOUBT, DIFFICULT ALTHOUGH I AM CERTAIN THAT THE DOCTOR DOES SO IN AN HONEST AND ACCURATE MANNER. BELIEVE, TOO, THAT THERE IS MUCH IN THE EXPENSE OF TRAVEL WHICH IS NOT CHARGED THE ADMINISTRATION BECAUSE OF THE SHORT TRIPS TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR. HOWEVER, I MAY SAY THAT IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF GOING FROM HERE TO A CITY SOME DISTANCE AWAY, SUCH AS SALEM, AND PROCURING A ROUND-TRIP TICKET, OR CHARGING FOR MILEAGE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRICE OF A ROUND-TRIP TICKET, BECAUSE IN PROCEEDING TO SALEM, OR ANY OTHER CITY SOMEWHAT DISTANT, THE DOCTOR ALSO TAKES THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE CALLS ON BENEFICIARIES RESIDING IN TOWNS SOMEWHAT OFF THE HIGHWAY OR ROAD TO SALEM, WHO HE WOULD HAVE TO VISIT AT SOME FUTURE TIME IF HE DID NOT TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO WHILE IN THAT VICINITY, AND WHILE TRAVELING TO SALEM AS HIS DESTINATION. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT HAS HAPPENED THAT THE DOCTOR NOTIFIES THIS OFFICE BY TELEPHONE OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE PATIENT, AND INCIDENTALLY IS GIVEN ANOTHER CALL SOME MILES FROM THE CITY FROM WHICH HE IS TELEPHONING BUT IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION FROM THAT WHICH WOULD BE A DIRECT RETURN TOOUR OFFICE OR TO BOSTON.

Q. YOU STATED THAT THE ACCOUNTANT TOLD DR. BANQUER THAT HE COULD GET REIMBURSED IN THE AMOUNTS AS IF HE TRAVELED BY TRAIN?

A. I DID NOT MEAN TO SAY THE ACCOUNTANT TOLD THAT TO DR. BANQUER. UNDERSTAND, HOWEVER, THAT IT WAS THE ARRANGEMENT WITH DR. BANQUER--- BETWEEN DR. BANQUER AND THE ACCOUNTANT--- ASSUMING THE PROVISIONS WERE MADE WITH THE ACCOUNTANT WHO GENERALLY HANDLES SUCH MATTERS.

REGARDING THE SECOND CONTENTION OF DR. BANQUER, STATED IN HIS LETTER, SUPRA, WHICH HAS REFERENCE TO THE TRAVEL SHOWN ON THE VOUCHERS TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED ON THE RAILROAD LINES, BOSTON AND MAINE, NEW YORK, NEW HAVEN AND HARTFORD, AND BOSTON AND ALBANY, WHILE YOU REPORT THAT YOUR ADMINISTRATION HAS ON FILE A LIST OF ROUND-TRIP, 30-DAY LIMIT TICKET RATES ON THE FIRST-MENTIONED RAILROAD LINE STATING THAT THESE RATES HAD BEEN IN EFFECT SINCE JULY 1, 1931, THE TARIFFS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE FAIL TO SHOW ROUND-TRIP RATES IN EFFECT ON THE FIRST TWO MENTIONED LINES PRIOR TO MAY 1, 1933, AND ON THE LATTER LINE PRIOR TO APRIL 15, 1935, BETWEEN THE POINTS OF TRAVEL STATED ON THE VOUCHERS. THIS IS SUBSTANTIATED BY LETTERS RECEIVED IN RESPONSE TO INQUIRIES BY THIS OFFICE, FROM THE GENERAL PASSENGER AGENT OF THE BOSTON AND ALBANY RAILROAD, DATED OCTOBER 15, 1935, THE PASSENGER TRAFFIC MANAGER OF THE BOSTON AND MAINE RAILROAD DATED OCTOBER 15, 1935, AND THE GENERAL PASSENGER AGENT OF THE NEW YORK, NEW HAVEN AND HARTFORD RAILROAD DATED OCTOBER 18, 1935. HOWEVER, THIS PHASE OF THE CASE IS DEEMED IMMATERIAL FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE DISPOSITION OF THE MATTER HERE. THE TESTIMONY HEREIN REPORTED REVEALS THAT DR. BANQUER CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL NOT ACTUALLY PERFORMED, IT HAVING BEEN ADMITTED BY DR. BANQUER THAT IN MANY INSTANCES HE LEFT THE TRAIN BEFORE REACHING BOSTON, THOUGH THE VOUCHERS STATED RETURN TO BOSTON BY TRAIN AND RAILROAD FARES WERE CLAIMED TO BOSTON IN ALL INSTANCES, AND FURTHER, THAT RAIL AND TAXI FARES WERE CLAIMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF OPERATING HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A COMMUTED BASIS OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS MODIFIED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. FROM THE FOREGOING IT IS CLEAR THAT THE VOUCHERS IN QUESTION HERE DID NOT DISCLOSE THE TRUE FACTS UPON WHICH REIMBURSEMENT WAS CLAIMED AND AS SUCH PAYMENT WAS RECEIVED BY DR. BANQUER UPON THE BASIS OF FALSIFIED TRAVEL ACCOUNTS. WHERE AN EMPLOYEE MAKES FALSE STATEMENTS AS TO CERTAIN ITEMS IN HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED, RAISING A DOUBT AS TO JUST WHAT EXPENSES WERE ACTUALLY AND LEGITIMATELY INCURRED, THE ENTIRE CLAIM IS FOR DISALLOWANCE, 10 COMP. GEN. 138. AS A COROLLARY TO THIS RULE IT NECESSARILY FOLLOWS THAT IF PAYMENT HAS BEEN RECEIVED ON THE BASIS OF A FALSIFIED ACCOUNT THE MONEY THUS RECEIVED IS FOR REFUNDING BACK TO THE GOVERNMENT. THAT THE LEGITIMATE ITEMS IN THE EXPENSE ACCOUNTS HERE CANNOT NOW BE ESTABLISHED WITH CERTAINTY IS EVIDENCED BY THE FACT THAT DR. BANQUER KEPT NO RECORD OF HIS TRAVEL--- IT HAVING BEEN REPORTED THAT THE TRAVEL VOUCHERS WERE MADE UP BY ONE OF THE SECRETARIES IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGIONAL MEDICAL OFFICER FROM INFORMATION RECEIVED OVER THE TELEPHONE.

WHILE THE RECORD THUS DISCLOSES THAT DR. BANQUER CONTACTED NUMEROUS PATIENTS IN THE VARIOUS OUTLYING DISTRICTS OF BOSTON AS DIRECTED BY HIS SUPERIOR OFFICER, THE RECORD CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THERE WAS A FALSE CERTIFICATION BY DR. BANQUER AS TO THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS SUBMITTED BY HIM RELATIVE TO THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONTACTING SUCH PATIENTS. WHETHER THIS WAS DONE "IN GOOD FAITH" AT THE SUGGESTION OF SOMEONE, OR OTHERWISE DELIBERATELY, OR THAT THERE WAS A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT, AS ALLEGED, IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE, AS THE FACT REMAINS THAT THERE WAS A FALSE CERTIFICATION OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNT AND AN EXPENSE ACCOUNT SO SUBMITTED CAN FORM NO BASIS FOR A VALID CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

IT HAS LONG BEEN THE ESTABLISHED RULE, WHICH HAS HAD UNIFORM APPLICATION, THAT THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS SHALL REJECT OR DISALLOW ALL THOSE CLAIMS OR ACCOUNTS WHICH THEY HAVE REASONABLE CAUSE TO SUSPECT TO BE TAINTED WITH FRAUD OR TO WHICH THEY BELIEVE THERE MAY BE SUBSTANTIAL DEFENSE IN LAW, OR AS TO THE VALIDITY OF WHICH THEY ARE IN DOUBT. LONGWILL V. UNITED STATES, 17 CT.CLS. 288 (291); CHARLES V. UNITED STATES, 19 CT.CLS. 316, 319. IT IS ALSO A WELL-ESTABLISHED RULE THAT WHERE MONEYS HAVE BEEN PAID OUT UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES BEFORE DISCOVERY OF THE IRREGULARITY OR FRAUD, SUCH MONEYS MAY BE RECOVERED BACK UPON THE DISCOVERY OF THE FRAUD OR IRREGULARITY.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS HELD THAT DR. BANQUER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHERS HEREINABOVE LISTED AND THAT HE SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO REMIT TO THIS OFFICE WITHOUT DELAY THE TOTAL AMOUNT RECEIVED BY HIM UNDER SAID VOUCHERS. SEE GENERALLY, SECTION 5438. REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 23, 1918, 40 STAT. 1015; ALSO, SECTIONS 3490 AND 1086, REVISED STATUTES. I SHALL BE PLEASED TO BE ADVISED OF THE ACTION TAKEN BY YOU IN THE MATTER.