A-80013, NOVEMBER 25, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 533

A-80013: Nov 25, 1936

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CHECKS - NEGOTIATION BY OTHER THAN INTENDED PAYEE- GOVERNMENT LIABILITY WHERE A GOVERNMENT CHECK IS DRAWN IN THE NAME GIVEN BY A FORMER EMPLOYEE FOR OFFICIAL RECORD PURPOSES. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE FURTHER PAYMENT TO THE FORMER EMPLOYEE BECAUSE OF THE WRONGFUL NEGOTIATION OF THE CHECK BY ANOTHER OF THE SAME NAME AT THE GIVEN ADDRESS UNLESS AND UNTIL COLLECTION OF THE AMOUNT OF THE INVOLVED CHECK IS MADE FROM THE NEGOTIATING PARTY. 1936: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT OF WAR DEPARTMENT CHECK NO. 250818 FOR $34.84 DRAWN JUNE 1. IT APPEARS THAT THE SUBJECT CHECK WAS ISSUED IN PAYMENT FOR 11 DAYS' SERVICE PERFORMED BY YOU DURING THE MONTH OF MAY. THAT WHILE YOUR FULL NAME IS WALLACE MORGAN YOU GAVE YOUR NAME AS W.

A-80013, NOVEMBER 25, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 533

CHECKS - NEGOTIATION BY OTHER THAN INTENDED PAYEE- GOVERNMENT LIABILITY WHERE A GOVERNMENT CHECK IS DRAWN IN THE NAME GIVEN BY A FORMER EMPLOYEE FOR OFFICIAL RECORD PURPOSES, AND MAILED TO THE ADDRESS GIVEN BY A FELLOW EMPLOYEE AT THE PAYEE'S REQUEST, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE FURTHER PAYMENT TO THE FORMER EMPLOYEE BECAUSE OF THE WRONGFUL NEGOTIATION OF THE CHECK BY ANOTHER OF THE SAME NAME AT THE GIVEN ADDRESS UNLESS AND UNTIL COLLECTION OF THE AMOUNT OF THE INVOLVED CHECK IS MADE FROM THE NEGOTIATING PARTY.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO WALLACE MORGAN, NOVEMBER 25, 1936:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT OF WAR DEPARTMENT CHECK NO. 250818 FOR $34.84 DRAWN JUNE 1, 1934, TO YOUR ORDER (W. MORGAN), BY R. B. LORD, FIRST LT., CORPS OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, ST. LOUIS, MO.

IT APPEARS THAT THE SUBJECT CHECK WAS ISSUED IN PAYMENT FOR 11 DAYS' SERVICE PERFORMED BY YOU DURING THE MONTH OF MAY, 1934, ON A RIVER AND HARBOR PROJECT ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER; THAT WHILE YOUR FULL NAME IS WALLACE MORGAN YOU GAVE YOUR NAME AS W. MORGAN FOR OFFICIAL RECORD PURPOSES; THAT YOU GAVE AS YOUR ADDRESS JACOB, ILL.; THAT WHEN YOU WERE LAID OFF ON MAY 29, 1934, INSTEAD OF REPORTING YOUR FORWARDING ADDRESS TO THE FOREMAN DIRECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRACTICE AND REQUIREMENTS YOU REPORTED IT TO A FELLOW-EMPLOYEE WHO WRONGLY REPORTED YOUR FORWARDING ADDRESS TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AS AVA, ILL., INSTEAD OF JACOB, ILL.; THAT THE CHECK WAS FORWARDED TO AVA, ILL.--- THE ADDRESS SO REPORTED BY YOUR FELLOW-EMPLOYEE; AND THAT THE CHECK WAS DELIVERED TO ONE WILLIAM MORGAN OF AVA, ILL., RESIDING ON RFD NO. 4.

THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE RECEIPT AND NEGOTIATION OF THE CHECK BY WILLARD MORGAN ARE STATED IN THE SECRET SERVICE REPORT OF NOVEMBER 6, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * WILLARD READILY ADMITTED RECEIVING SUBJECT CHECK AS DELIVERED BY RURAL CARRIER TO HIS BOX AT RURAL HOME ON RT NUMBER 4; THAT HE TALKED OVER MATTER OF SUBJECT CHECK WITH HIS WIFE ON DATE RECEIVED AND SAID HE BELIEVED THE CHECK WAS SENT HIM FOR BACK PAY DUE FROM PREVIOUS LABOR ON C.W.A. PROJECT WHICH HE WORKED ON FROM OCT. 1933, TO MAR. 30, 1934. THAT DURING THIS EMPLOYMENT THERE HAD BEEN CONSIDERABLE DISCUSSION AMONG EMPLOYEES OF THAT C.W.A. WORK, AS WELL AS THEY HAVING SIGNED PETITIONS IN ORDER THAT THEY MIGHT RECEIVE 50 CENTS PER HOUR IN LIEU OF 40 CENTS PER HOUR, THE LATTER AMOUNT ONLY RECEIVED, WHEREAS IT WAS THOSE EMPLOYEES' UNDERSTANDING THAT EMPLOYEES ON OTHER C.W.A. PROJECTS WERE BEING PAID 50 CENTS PER HOUR, HENCE THEY FELT THEY WERE BEING UNDERPAID AND ENTITLED TO THE FULL AMOUNT OF 50 CENTS PER HOUR. THAT IN VIEW OF THIS AND THE PENDING ACTION, HE AS WELL AS OTHER C.W.A. EMPLOYEES BELIEVED THAT AT SOME LATER DATE THEY WOULD EVENTUALLY RECEIVE THE DIFFERENCE IN WAGES. THEREFORE WHEN THIS CHECK ARRIVED IT LOOKED THE SAME AS PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT CHECKS HE HAD RECEIVED FROM C.W.A. WORK. THAT ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON HE COULD NOT CASH THE CHECK AT THE LOCAL AVA BANK AND HE TOOK HIS FAMILY TO PINCKNEYVILLE, ILL., AND TRIED TO CASH THE CHECK AT LATTER P.O., BUT POSTMASTER THERE SAID HE HAD JUST CASHED SOME OTHER CHECKS JUST LIKE IT, AND WAS WITHOUT SUFFICIENT CASH. THAT THE P.M. SUGGESTED HEGO TO ONE OF THE LOCAL STORES. THAT HE WENT TO THE KROGER STORE, IDENTIFIED HIMSELF AND THEY CASHED THE CHECK AND HE THEN BOUGHT A SUPPLY OF GROCERIES AND SPENT MOST OF THE PROCEEDS AND LATER SPENT REMAINDER FOR OTHER NECESSITIES FOR HIS FAMILY. THAT HE HAD NO IDEA THIS CHECK WAS INTENDED FOR SOMEONE ELSE UNTIL SOME GOVERNMENT OFFICER LATER APPROACHED HIM RE THE MATTER. * * *

IN THE SAME REPORT APPEARS THE FOLLOWING WITH RESPECT TO THE INTERVIEW HAD WITH YOU BY THE SECRET SERVICE AGENTS, RESPECTING YOUR ADDRESS, ETC.,

* * * WALLACE MORGAN SAID HE HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY RESIDING NEAR TO AND RECEIVING HIS MAIL THRU THE JACOB, ILL., P.O., UNTIL JUST PRIOR TO TIME THIS CHECK WAS DUE HIM. THAT HE COULD NOT RECALL HAVING RECEIVED ANY MAIL AS W. MORGAN DELIVERED THRU THE AVA, ILL., P.O., AND FURTHER STATED HE HAD PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED HIS GOVERNMENT CHECKS AS W. MORGAN AND USUALLY SIGNED HIS NAME AS W. MORGAN INSTEAD OF WRITING OUT FULL NAME OF WALLACE.

THE CRIMINAL PHASE OF THE CASE WAS REFERRED TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY AT DANVILLE, ILL., FOR HIS CONSIDERATION AND IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS REPORTED BY THAT OFFICE THAT THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH WILLARD MORGAN RECEIVED AND CASHED THE CHECK DID NOT WARRANT CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.

IN DECISION DATED SEPTEMBER 28, 1936, A-80013, THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES WAS AUTHORIZED TO ABANDON RECLAMATION PROCEEDINGS ON THE SUBJECT CHECK ON THE GROUND THAT THE CASHING INDORSER, KROGER STORE, HAD CASHED THE CHECK FOR ONE PROPERLY IDENTIFIED AS THE PAYEE DESCRIBED ON THE FACE OF THE CHECK, THUS RELIEVING SAID CASHING INDORSER OF ANY LIABILITY ON THE CHECK. IN THAT SAME DECISION, HOWEVER, THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES WAS FURTHER ADVISED AS FOLLOWS:

IT APPEARING, HOWEVER, THAT WILLARD MORGAN HAS RECEIVED THE PROCEEDS OF A GOVERNMENT CHECK TO WHICH HE HAD NO RIGHT OR TITLE, HE IS LIABLE EX AEQUO ET BONO TO REFUND SUCH AMOUNT TO THE GOVERNMENT. ACCORDINGLY, A DEBT CHARGE WILL BE RAISED AGAINST THE WRONGFUL NEGOTIATOR OF THE CHECK AND COLLECTION THEREOF PROCEEDED WITH IN THE USUAL MANNER.

UP TO THE PRESENT TIME WILLARD MORGAN HAS NOT REFUNDED THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK NOR ANY PART THEREOF.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT DREW THE CHECK IN THE NAME WHICH YOU GAVE FOR OFFICIAL RECORD PURPOSES AND THAT IT MAILED THE SAID CHECK TO THE ADDRESS GIVEN BY YOUR FELLOW-EMPLOYEE IN WHOM YOU HAD REPOSED THE MISSION OF FURNISHING YOUR FORWARDING ADDRESS, IT IS APPARENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE CHARGED WITH ANY NEGLIGENCE IN THE MATTER OF THE ISSUANCE AND MAILING OF THE CHECK. THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE DELIVERY OF THE CHECK TO THE WRONG PERSON AND ITS NEGOTIATION AND BY SAID PERSON WAS YOUR FAILURE TO GIVE YOUR FULL NAME FOR RECORD PURPOSES AND YOUR FAILURE PERSONALLY TO GIVE TO THE FOREMAN THE CORRECT MAILING ADDRESS TO WHICH THE CHECK WAS TO BE FORWARDED. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE ANY FURTHER PAYMENT IN THE MATTER UNLESS AND UNTIL COLLECTION OF THE AMOUNT OF THE INVOLVED CHECK FROM WILLARD MORGAN IS ACCOMPLISHED.