A-9767, JUNE 22, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1058

A-9767: Jun 22, 1925

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CHECKS - INSANE PAYEES WHERE A VETERANS' BUREAU CHECK FOR DISABILITY COMPENSATION WAS MADE PAYABLE TO A MENTALLY INCOMPETENT BENEFICIARY INSTEAD OF BEING MADE PAYABLE TO THE COMMITTEE (HIS MOTHER) APPOINTED TO LOOK AFTER HIS AFFAIRS. IT IS SHOWN THAT THE BENEFICIARY RESIDED AT THE SAME ADDRESS OF THE COMMITTEE. THE PRESUMPTION IS THAT THE BENEFICIARY RECEIVED. 1925: THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF ROBERT HENRY STEVENS FOR $816. THE BASIS OF THE CLAIM APPEARS TO BE THAT THE CHECK IN QUESTION WAS ISSUED IN FAVOR OF THE CLAIMANT AT A TIME WHEN HE WAS MENTALLY IN COMPETENT AND A COMMITTEE HAD BEEN APPOINTED TO LOOK AFTER HIM AND HIS AFFAIRS. INFORMATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU THAT THE RECORDS OF THAT BUREAU SHOW THAT ROBERT HENRY STEVENS WAS ADJUSTED MENTALLY INCOMPETENT BY A VIRGINIA COURT IN APRIL.

A-9767, JUNE 22, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1058

CHECKS - INSANE PAYEES WHERE A VETERANS' BUREAU CHECK FOR DISABILITY COMPENSATION WAS MADE PAYABLE TO A MENTALLY INCOMPETENT BENEFICIARY INSTEAD OF BEING MADE PAYABLE TO THE COMMITTEE (HIS MOTHER) APPOINTED TO LOOK AFTER HIS AFFAIRS, AND IT IS SHOWN THAT THE BENEFICIARY RESIDED AT THE SAME ADDRESS OF THE COMMITTEE, THE PRESUMPTION IS THAT THE BENEFICIARY RECEIVED, CASHED, AND DERIVED THE BENEFIT OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND ACQUIESCENCE OF THE COMMITTEE, AND A CLAIM BY THE BENEFICIARY AFTER REGAINING HIS SANITY FOR THE AMOUNT OF SUCH CHECK MAY NOT BE ALLOWED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 22, 1925:

THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF ROBERT HENRY STEVENS FOR $816, BEING THE AMOUNT OF CHECK NO. 33033, ISSUED JULY 25, 1922, BY J. C. ROBERTS, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, IN FAVOR OF ROBERT HENRY STEVENS, IN PAYMENT OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

THE BASIS OF THE CLAIM APPEARS TO BE THAT THE CHECK IN QUESTION WAS ISSUED IN FAVOR OF THE CLAIMANT AT A TIME WHEN HE WAS MENTALLY IN COMPETENT AND A COMMITTEE HAD BEEN APPOINTED TO LOOK AFTER HIM AND HIS AFFAIRS. INFORMATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU THAT THE RECORDS OF THAT BUREAU SHOW THAT ROBERT HENRY STEVENS WAS ADJUSTED MENTALLY INCOMPETENT BY A VIRGINIA COURT IN APRIL, 1921; THAT HIS MOTHER, MOLLIE O. STEVENS, WAS APPOINTED AS HIS COMMITTEE; AND THAT SHE WAS DISCHARGED IN FEBRUARY, 1923, AT WHICH TIME THE COURT FOUND ROBERT HENRY STEVENS TO BE SANE. IT HAS ALSO BEEN REPORTED THAT DURING THE PERIOD OF THE COMMITTEESHIP DISABILITY COMPENSATION CHECKS ON BEHALF OF ROBERT HENRY STEVENS WERE ISSUED BY WILLIAM H. HOLMES, DISBURSING CLERK OF THE BUREAU, IN FAVOR OF THE COMMITTEE, BUT THAT ON JULY 25, 1922, THE ABOVE-DESCRIBED CHECK WAS ISSUED BY J. C. ROBERTS, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, IN FAVOR OF ROBERT HENRY STEVENS INSTEAD OF MOLLIE O. STEVENS, HIS COMMITTEE. SAID CHECK WAS SENT TO LUNENBURG, VA., WHICH, AT THAT TIME WAS THE ADDRESS OF STEVENS'S MOTHER WITH WHOM HE WAS RESIDING. FROM THE OFFICIAL RECORDS AND THE FACTS DISCLOSED AS THE RESULT OF INVESTIGATIONS THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO ROOM FOR REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE CLAIMANT RECEIVED, CASHED, AND DERIVED THE BENEFIT OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND ACQUIESCENCE OF THE COMMITTEE.

THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED HAVING ONCE BEEN CHARGED WITH THE AMOUNT, IT CAN NOT LAWFULLY BE AGAIN CHARGED WITH THE SAME ITEM; NEITHER DOES THE TECHNICAL SITUATION WHICH APPEARS GIVEN RISE TO ANY LEGAL CLAIM WHICH MAY BE ALLOWED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS.