A-96504, NOVEMBER 3, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 414

A-96504: Nov 3, 1938

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

PAYEE'S LIABILITY WHERE THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE RECEIPT OF A GOVERNMENT CHECK BY THE WRONG PERSON AND ITS SUBSEQUENT NEGOTIATION BY HIM WAS THE PAYEE'S DIRECTION THAT THE CHECK BE MAILED TO AN ADDRESS OTHER THAN HIS REGULAR MAILING ADDRESS AS GIVEN IN CONNECTION WITH OTHER GOVERNMENT CHECKS. THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT CHARGEABLE WITH ANY NEGLIGENCE IN ITS ISSUANCE AND MAILING. THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST THE CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK UNDER THE PREVIOUSLY REPORTED FACTS AS TO HIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ERRONEOUS ADDRESS TO WHICH THE CHECK WAS SENT WILL BE REMOVED. FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IS AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO DECISION A-96504 DATED JULY 26.

A-96504, NOVEMBER 3, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 414

CHECKS - PAYEE'S DIRECTION FOR MAILING TO OTHER THAN REGULAR MAILING ADDRESS - NEGOTIATION BY OTHER THAN INTENDED PAYEE - GOVERNMENT, CERTIFYING OFFICER, AND PAYEE'S LIABILITY WHERE THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE RECEIPT OF A GOVERNMENT CHECK BY THE WRONG PERSON AND ITS SUBSEQUENT NEGOTIATION BY HIM WAS THE PAYEE'S DIRECTION THAT THE CHECK BE MAILED TO AN ADDRESS OTHER THAN HIS REGULAR MAILING ADDRESS AS GIVEN IN CONNECTION WITH OTHER GOVERNMENT CHECKS, THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT CHARGEABLE WITH ANY NEGLIGENCE IN ITS ISSUANCE AND MAILING, AND THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST THE CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK UNDER THE PREVIOUSLY REPORTED FACTS AS TO HIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ERRONEOUS ADDRESS TO WHICH THE CHECK WAS SENT WILL BE REMOVED, FURTHER ADJUSTMENT OF THE MATTER OF THE PAYEE'S LOSS BECAUSE OF THE WRONGFUL NEGOTIATION BEING FOR ADJUSTMENT BETWEEN THE PAYEE AND THE WRONGFUL NEGOTIATOR AND NOT BY THE ISSUANCE TO THE PAYEE OF ANOTHER CHECK FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, NOVEMBER 3, 1938:

LETTER DATED OCTOBER 21, 1938, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IS AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO DECISION A-96504 DATED JULY 26, 1938, RELATIVE TO CLAIM OF CLAUDE WHITE (FILE MISC.-0670638-ARW) FOR THE PROCEEDS OF CHECK NO. 3,574,349 IN THE AMOUNT OF $46.00, WHICH CHECK WAS WRONGFULLY NEGOTIATED BY CLAUDE E. WHITE, MORE HEAD, KENTUCKY.

FURTHER INVESTIGATION WAS MADE INTO THE MANNER OF PREPARING MR. WHITE'S TIME REPORTS WITH THE VIEW TO ESTABLISHING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SHOWING OF HIS ADDRESS AS MORE HEAD, KENTUCKY, WITH THE RESULT THAT A STATEMENT SIGNED BY MR. WHITE HAS BEEN RECEIVED WHICH AUTHORIZED BOTH TRIPLETT AND MORE HEAD, KENTUCKY, TO BE SHOWN AS HIS ADDRESSES.

THERE IS ATTACHED HERETO A LIST OF VOUCHERS ON WHICH PAYMENTS WERE MADE TO MR. WHITE AT BOTH TRIPLETT AND MORE HEAD, KENTUCKY, ADDRESSES. APPARENTLY MR. WHITE WAS KNOWN IN MORE HEAD AS ALL CHECKS OTHER THAN THE ONE IN QUESTION WERE CORRECTLY DELIVERED.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH DECISION A-96504, THERE IS ATTACHED HERETO PAY ROLL FOR MR. WHITE IN THE AMOUNT OF $46.00, SUPPORTED BY LIST OF VOUCHERS ON WHICH HIS NAME APPEARED FROM OCTOBER 1, 1936, TO JUNE 30, 1938, AND STATEMENTS BY MR. WHITE AND THE DISTRICT RANGER, UNDER WHOSE SUPERVISION MR. WHITE WAS EMPLOYED. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THIS AMOUNT IS DUE MR. WHITE AND PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM IS RECOMMENDED.

SINCE NO EVIDENCE COULD BE FOUND BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THAT MR. WHITE PARTICIPATED IN THE PROCEEDS OF CHECK NO. 3,574,349, AND SINCE THE WRONGFUL NEGOTIATOR IS NOW BEING DETAINED IN KENTUCKY STATE REFORMATORY, LA GRANGE, KENTUCKY, FOR A PERIOD OF SIX YEARS ON A FORGERY CONVICTION, AND IN VIEW OF THE STATEMENT BY MR. WHITE, IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE CHARGE AGAINST THE CERTIFYING OFFICER, EDWARD L. TOBIN, BE RAISED.

THE CHARGE AGAINST THE CERTIFYING OFFICER WAS RAISED ON THE BOOKS OF THIS OFFICE ON THE BASIS OF THE RECORD AS OF JULY 26, 1938, THE DATE OF MY DECISION TO YOU, A-96504. THE PAYEE, IN AFFIDAVIT DATED SEPTEMBER 20, 1937, HAD STATED THAT HIS MAILING ADDRESS AT THE TIME THE CHECK WAS DUE TO ARRIVE WAS TRIPLETT, KENTUCKY, WHEREAS VOUCHER ON WHICH THE CHECK WAS ISSUED AND WHICH WAS CERTIFIED BY EDWARD L. TOBIN SHOWED THE PAYEE'S ADDRESS AS MORE HEAD, KY. IN EXPLANATION OF THE VOUCHER THE OFFICE OF BUDGET AND FINANCE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT REPORTED UNDER DATE OF MAY 19, 1938, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FOREST SUPERVISOR, WINCHESTER, KENTUCKY, UNDER WHOSE SUPERVISION MR. WHITE WAS EMPLOYED, ADVISES AS FOLLOWS:

"AN INVESTIGATION BY THIS OFFICE INDICATES THAT THE PAY ROLL FOR WHICH THIS CHECK WAS DRAWN WAS BASED ON A TIME SLIP PREPARED BY ASA S. REEVES, CAMP CLERK, AND SIGNED BY BRUCE L. VICE, SENIOR FOREMAN IN CHARGE OF CAMP F-4. FOR SOME REASON, UNKNOWN TO THIS OFFICE, CAMP CLERK REEVES SHOWED CLAUDE WHITE'S ADDRESS TO BE MORE HEAD, KENTUCKY, ON THIS PARTICULAR TIME SLIP WHEREAS IT HAD BEEN THE CUSTOM TO ADDRESS CLAUDE WHITE'S CHECKS TO TRIPLETT, KENTUCKY, AND ALL OTHER TIME SLIPS FOR THE PERIOD FROM OCTOBER 1936 TO SEPTEMBER 1937, WERE SO PREPARED. MR. ASA REEVES WAS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE ON OCTOBER 4, 1937, AND HIS PRESENT WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN. MR. VICE, THE SENIOR FOREMAN WHO SIGNED THE TIME SLIPS AS PRESENTED TO HIM BY THE CLERK, SAID HE DID SO WITHOUT INQUIRING INTO THE INDIVIDUAL ADDRESSES AS CLAUDE WHITE WAS REGULARLY EMPLOYED. THE CLAIMANT, CLAUDE WHITE, HAD NOT REQUESTED NOR AUTHORIZED THE CHANGE OF ADDRESS FOR THE MAILING OF HIS CHECKS. HE REPORTED ITS NONRECEIPT AS SOON AS HE HAD RECEIVED THE CHECK FOR MARCH SERVICES WITHOUT RECEIVING THE CHECK FOR FEBRUARY SERVICES.'

INASMUCH AS THE PAYEE DID NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN AT FAULT AND SINCE IT HAD BEEN SPECIFICALLY REPORTED THAT ALL OF HIS CHECKS FROM OCTOBER 1936 TO SEPTEMBER 1937 HAD BEEN ADDRESSED TO HIM AT TRIPLETT, KY., AND HE HAD NOT AUTHORIZED A CHANGE OF ADDRESS, YOU WERE ADVISED THAT A NEW CHECK SHOULD BE ISSUED IN HIS FAVOR AND A CHARGE WOULD BE RAISED AGAINST THE CERTIFYING OFFICER. THE PAYEE'S STATEMENT, TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, IS AS FOLLOWS:

I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT I AUTHORIZED MR. B. L. VICE TO SUBMIT A TIME SLIP FOR ME COVERING SALARY AND WAGES FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 1937 IN THE AMOUNT OF $46.00. I ALSO AUTHORIZED MR. VICE TO REQUEST THE CHECK TO BE MAILED TO EITHER TRIPLETT OR MORE HEAD, KENTUCKY, AS IT HAD BEEN CUSTOMARY FOR ME TO RECEIVE MAIL AT EITHER PLACE. SAID TIME SLIP WAS SUBMITTED WITH MY FULL KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT AND IN THE SAME MANNER IN WHICH OTHER TIME SLIPS HAD BEEN SUBMITTED FOR WHICH I HAD BEEN DULY PAID.

THE LIST OF VOUCHERS ON WHICH PAYMENTS WERE MADE FROM OCTOBER 1936 TO SEPTEMBER 1937 INDICATES THE PAYEE'S ADDRESS AS TRIPLETT, KY., IN ALL INSTANCES EXCEPT THE ONE INVOLVING CHECK NO. 3574349. IT WOULD APPEAR, THEREFORE, THAT THE ACTION TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE AS BASED ON THE RECORD WAS CORRECT. SINCE THE PAYEE NOW STATES THAT HE AUTHORIZED THE MAILING OF HIS CHECKS TO EITHER TRIPLET OR MORE HEAD, WHICH IS CONTRARY TO THE FACTS ORIGINALLY REPORTED, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE CERTIFYING OFFICER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE AND THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST HIM WILL BE REMOVED. HOWEVER, IT NOW APPEARS THAT THE PROXIMATE CAUSE OF THE RECEIPT OF THE CHECK BY THE WRONG PERSON AND ITS NEGOTIATION BY SAID PERSON WAS THE PAYEE'S DIRECTION OF THE MAILING OF THE CHECK TO AN ADDRESS OTHER THAN HIS REGULAR MAILING ADDRESS. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE CHARGED WITH ANY NEGLIGENCE IN THE MATTER OF THE ISSUANCE AND THE MAILING OF THE CHECK. THE CHECK HAVING BEEN ISSUED AND PAID THROUGH NO ERROR ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE MATTER IS ONE FOR ADJUSTMENT BETWEEN THE PAYEE AND THE PERSON WHO RECEIVED AND NEGOTIATED THE CHECK; THAT IS, CLAUDE E. WHITE, REPORTED AS BEING NOW CONFINED TO KENTUCKY STATE REFORMATORY, LAGRANGE, KY. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT A CHECK FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED MAY NOT NOW BE ISSUED IN FAVOR OF CLAUDE J. WHITE, AND THE SUPPLEMENTAL PAY ROLL TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER WILL BE RETAINED IN THE FILES OF THIS OFFICE. A COPY OF THIS DECISION IS BEING FURNISHED THE PAYEE WHO NOW INDICATES ADDRESS TO BE MORE HEAD, KY. ..END :