A-93336, MAY 16, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 954

A-93336: May 16, 1938

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CHECKS - FORGERIES - RECLAMATION - DEFENSE BASED ON GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' AFFIDAVIT RECLAMATION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE FIRST CASHING BANK OF A VETERAN'S PENSION CHECK MAY NOT BE ABANDONED MERELY BECAUSE OF THE BANK'S ALLEGATION THAT THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE CHECK WAS NOT A FORGERY AND THAT THE CHECK WAS INDORSED AND CASHED BY THE PAYEE. NOTWITHSTANDING THE ALLEGATION IS SUPPORTED BY AN AFFIDAVIT OF EMPLOYEES OF THE POST OFFICE AT WHICH THE CHECK WAS ORIGINALLY CASHED THAT THEY "HAVE NEVER CASHED ONE OF HIS (THE PAYEE-S) CHECKS FOR ANY OTHER PERSON. THE MATTER OF THE NEGOTIATION OF THE CHECK WAS REFERRED TO THE SECRET SERVICE DIVISION. IT WAS REPORTED AS FOLLOWS: AT THE POST OFFICE. WILL ZIMMERMAN.

A-93336, MAY 16, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 954

CHECKS - FORGERIES - RECLAMATION - DEFENSE BASED ON GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' AFFIDAVIT RECLAMATION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE FIRST CASHING BANK OF A VETERAN'S PENSION CHECK MAY NOT BE ABANDONED MERELY BECAUSE OF THE BANK'S ALLEGATION THAT THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE CHECK WAS NOT A FORGERY AND THAT THE CHECK WAS INDORSED AND CASHED BY THE PAYEE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE ALLEGATION IS SUPPORTED BY AN AFFIDAVIT OF EMPLOYEES OF THE POST OFFICE AT WHICH THE CHECK WAS ORIGINALLY CASHED THAT THEY "HAVE NEVER CASHED ONE OF HIS (THE PAYEE-S) CHECKS FOR ANY OTHER PERSON," THE AFFIDAVIT OF THE SAID EMPLOYEES BEING ENTITLED TO BUT LITTLE WEIGHT WHERE MORE THAN A YEAR BEFORE THEY WOULD NOT STATE POSITIVELY THAT ANY OF THEM CASHED THE CHECK FOR THE PAYEE, AND THE EXAMINER OF QUESTIONED DOCUMENTS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, HAVING RAISED DOUBT AS TO THE GENUINENESS OF THE INDORSEMENT CONCERNING WHICH THE PAYEE HAS ALLEGED FORGERY AND NONRECEIPT OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES, MAY 16, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 17, 1937, AWS-C, REQUESTS TO BE ADVISED WHETHER YOUR OFFICE SHOULD INSIST UPON REFUND OF THE AMOUNT OF $55 FROM THE INDORSERS OF CHECK NO. 597259 FOR $55, DRAWN OCTOBER 31, 1935, TO THE ORDER OF HARRY E. ALTMAN, UNDER SYMBOL 11-571, OF G. F. ALLEN.

THE CHECK IN QUESTION COVERS PENSION PAYMENT DUE THE PAYEE FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 1935, AS A VETERAN OF THE WORLD WAR AND THE NONRECEIPT AND NONNEGOTIATION THEREOF HAS BEEN ALLEGED BY HIM. THE MATTER OF THE NEGOTIATION OF THE CHECK WAS REFERRED TO THE SECRET SERVICE DIVISION, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, FOR INVESTIGATION, AND UNDER DATE OF SEPTEMBER 4, 1936, IT WAS REPORTED AS FOLLOWS:

AT THE POST OFFICE, ROCHESTER, I CONTACTED POSTMASTER HUGH G. MCMAHAN WHO, ON VIEWING PHOTOSTAT COPY OF SUBJECT CHECK, ACKNOWLEDGED HIS ENDORSEMENT (STAMPED) ON SUBJECT CHECK, EXECUTED THEREON BY LON ZIMMERMAN, POSTAL-SAVINGS CLERK. BOTH LON ZIMMERMAN AND HIS BROTHER, WILL ZIMMERMAN, ALSO A POST-OFFICE CLERK, WERE CALLED INTO THE POSTMASTER'S OFFICE AND WERE SHOWN PHOTOSTAT COPY OF SUBJECT CHECK. LOW ZIMMERMAN ADMITTED HIS ENDORSEMENT ON SUBJECT CHECK BUT NEITHER THE POSTMASTER, LON ZIMMERMAN, OR WILL ZIMMERMAN WOULD STATE POSITIVELY THAT THEY CASHED THE CHECK FOR THE PAYEE, WITH WHOM ALL STATED THEY WERE WELL ACQUAINTED.

WILL ZIMMERMAN STATED HE MIGHT HAVE CASHED THIS CHECK FOR THE PAYEE, AND AS HE ONLY HAS A FUND OF $100 IN HIS CASH DRAWER, MAY HAVE PLACED THE CHECK WITHOUT HIS ENDORSEMENT IN THE CASH DRAWER OF HIS BROTHER, LON ZIMMERMAN.

LON ZIMMERMAN STATED HE COULD NOT RECALL CASHING THIS PARTICULAR CHECK FOR THE PAYEE, BUT WAS CERTAIN THAT HE, ON DESIRING TO OBTAIN A REMITTANCE AT THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK, ROCHESTER, PLACED THE POSTMASTER'S RUBBER- STAMP ENDORSEMENT ON THE CHECK AND WROTE THE WORDS "PER LON ZIMMERMAN, CLERK," THEREON.

IT IS APPARENT THAT AS FAR BACK AS SEPTEMBER 1936, POSTMASTER HUGH G. MCMAHAN, LON ZIMMERMAN, AND WILL ZIMMERMAN COULD NOT OR WOULD NOT STATE POSITIVELY THAT ANY ONE OF THEM CASHED THE CHECK FOR THE PAYEE. THE CHECK WHICH WAS DATED OCTOBER 31, 1935, BEARS THE STAMPED ENDORSEMENT OF THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK, ROCHESTER, IND., DATED NOVEMBER 1, 1935, THEREBY INDICATING THE CHECK WAS CASHED AT THE POST OFFICE ON EITHER OCTOBER 31 OR NOVEMBER 1, 1935. THE PAYEE IN AN AFFIDAVIT EXECUTED JUNE 25, 1936, AVERRED THAT AT THE TIME THE CHECK WAS DUE TO ARRIVE HIS ADDRESS WAS R.R. NO. 2, ROCHESTER, INC., AND THAT HE RECEIVED HIS MAIL BY RURAL CARRIER. THE SECRET SERVICE OPERATIVE CONDUCTING THE INVESTIGATION REPORTED THAT THE PAYEE INFORMED HIM THAT HE WAS AT HOME ON NOVEMBER 1, 1935, AWAITING ARRIVAL OF HIS CHECK AND UPON HIS FAILURE TO RECEIVE IT HE TOOK THE MATTER UP WITH THE CARRIER THE NEXT DAY. ALSO, THAT ON NOVEMBER 2, 1935, HE MADE INQUIRY AT THE POST OFFICE FOR THE CHECK WHICH STATEMENT WAS CORROBORATED BY THE POSTMASTER. THE RURAL CARRIER WAS QUESTIONED BY THE SECRET SERVICE OPERATIVE AND HE STATED THAT HE RECALLED THE INCIDENT AND THAT HE DID NOT DELIVER THE CHECK TO THE PAYEE'S RURAL ROUTE MAIL BOX SINCE HE DID NOT RECEIVE IT FOR DELIVERY.

SPECIMENS OF THE PAYEE'S HANDWRITING AND THE CHECK WERE SUBMITTED TO THE EXAMINER OF QUESTIONED DOCUMENTS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, FOR EXAMINATION AND COMPARISON OF SIGNATURES. UNDER DATE OF NOVEMBER 30, 1936, THAT OFFICIAL REPORTED AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE MADE A CAREFUL EXAMINATION AND COMPARISON OF THE WRITING SUBMITTED AND AS A RESULT OF THIS STUDY I FIND A STRONG SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE QUESTIONED ENDORSEMENT AND THE WRITING OF THE PAYEE. HOWEVER, THE PRESENCE OF SEVERAL DIFFERENCES IN THE ENDORSEMENT RAISES A DOUBT AS TO ITS GENUINENESS. THESE DEFECTS ARE IN THE FORM OF PEN LIFTS AND THEY OCCUR IN THE FOLLOWING PLACES: BETWEEN THE DOUBLE "R-S" IN THE NAME "HARRY; " BETWEEN THE "R" AND "Y" IN THE SAME NAME; BETWEEN EACH LETTER OF THE LAST NAME WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE "A" AND "L.'

AS A RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATION MADE IN THE MATTER AND OTHER FACTS OF RECORD YOU WERE AUTHORIZED UNDER DATE OF SEPTEMBER 25, 1937, TO RECLAIM THE AMOUNT INVOLVED, I.E., $55, AND UPON RECOVERY TO TRANSMIT SAME TO THE PAYEE. IT NOW APPEARS THAT THE FIRST CASHING BANK--- THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF ROCHESTER--- HAS FAILED TO MAKE REFUND UPON YOUR REQUEST FOR THE REASON THE CHECK WAS ENDORSED AND CASHED BY THE PAYEE AND IT HAS SUBMITTED AN AFFIDAVIT DATED NOVEMBER 18, 1937, SIGNED BY THE EMPLOYEES OF THE ROCHESTER, IND., POST OFFICE INCLUDING, AMONG OTHERS, POSTMASTER HUGH G. MCMAHAN, LON ZIMMERMAN, AND WILL ZIMMERMAN. IT IS AVERRED IN THE AFFIDAVIT THAT ALL PERSONS SIGNING SAME ARE PERSONALLY ACQUAINTED WITH THE PAYEE AND "HAVE NEVER CASHED ONE OF HIS CHECKS FOR ANY OTHER PERSON.' VIEW OF THE FACT THAT HUGH G. MCMAHAN, LON ZIMMERMAN, AND WILL ZIMMERMAN WERE UNABLE TO STATE POSITIVELY IN SEPTEMBER 1936 THAT THEY CASHED THE CHECK FOR THE PAYEE, LITTLE WEIGHT CAN BE GIVEN TO THEIR POSITIVE STATEMENT MADE OVER A YEAR LATER THAT THEY NEVER CASHED ANY OF THE PAYEE'S CHECKS FOR ANYONE ELSE BUT HIM. IN ANY EVENT THE PAYEE HAS ALLEGED FORGERY OF HIS ENDORSEMENT OF THE CHECK, THE CHECK BEARS THE ACKNOWLEDGED SECOND ENDORSEMENT OF LON ZIMMERMAN FOR THE POSTMASTER, AND MR. ZIMMERMAN WHEN INTERVIEWED COULD NOT RECALL CASHING THE CHECK FOR THE PAYEE. ALSO, WHILE THE CASHING BANK CONTENDS THAT THE CHECK BEARS THE GENUINE ENDORSEMENT OF THE PAYEE, THE EXAMINER OF QUESTIONED DOCUMENTS HAS REPORTED THAT ALTHOUGH A STRONG SIMILARITY EXISTS BETWEEN THE QUESTIONED ENDORSEMENT AND THE WRITING OF THE PAYEE THE PRESENCE OF SEVERAL DIFFERENCES IN THE ENDORSEMENT RAISES A DOUBT AS TO ITS GENUINENESS.

THEREFORE, ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD, YOU ARE ADVISED IN ANSWER TO YOUR SPECIFIC INQUIRY THAT, UNLESS THE PAYEE WITHDRAWS HIS CLAIM, RECLAMATION PROCEEDINGS SHOULD BE INSISTED UPON. THE CHECK AND FILE ARE RETURNED HEREWITH FOR YOUR FURTHER ACTION ACCORDINGLY.