B-126380, MAR. 7, 1956

B-126380: Mar 7, 1956

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JR.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT SINCE THE OVERPAYMENT WAS THE FAULT OF THE ARMY. WAS ACCEPTED BY YOU IN GOOD FAITH. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT PERSONS RECEIVING MONEY ERRONEOUSLY PAID BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR OFFICIAL ACQUIRE NO LEGAL RIGHT THERETO AND THE COURTS CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT SUCH PERSONS ARE BOUND IN EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE TO MAKE RESTITUTION. IT IS SETTLED THAT NO OFFICER OR AGENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AUTHORIZED TO GIVE AWAY THE MONEY OR PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES. OUR OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO CANCEL YOUR INDEBTEDNESS AND THUS RELIEVE YOU OF YOUR OBLIGATION FOR REFUNDING THE PAYMENTS ILLEGALLY MADE AND ERRONEOUSLY RECEIVED.

B-126380, MAR. 7, 1956

TO MR. WILLIAM E. BERRY, JR.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ACKNOWLEDGED BY OUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 14, 1955, WHEREIN YOU REQUEST THAT YOU BE RELIEVED OF YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE SUM OF $50, WHICH AROSE AS A RESULT OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY YOU FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY DURING DECEMBER 1953, WHILE SERVING AS AN ENLISTED MAN IN THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES (SERVICE NO. US 56,101,165).

YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT SINCE THE OVERPAYMENT WAS THE FAULT OF THE ARMY, AND WAS ACCEPTED BY YOU IN GOOD FAITH, YOU SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO REPAY THE SUM FOUND DUE.

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT PERSONS RECEIVING MONEY ERRONEOUSLY PAID BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR OFFICIAL ACQUIRE NO LEGAL RIGHT THERETO AND THE COURTS CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT SUCH PERSONS ARE BOUND IN EQUITY AND GOOD CONSCIENCE TO MAKE RESTITUTION. SEE UNITED STATES V. BURCHARD, 125 U.S. 176; UNITED STATES V. WURTS, 303 U.S. 414; WISCONSIN CENTRAL RAILROAD V. UNITED STATES, 164 U.S. 190; UNITED STATES V. SUTTON CHEMICAL COMPANY, 11 F.2D, 24, AND THE CASES CITED AND DISCUSSED IN 63 A.L.R. 1346.

MOREOVER, IT IS SETTLED THAT NO OFFICER OR AGENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS AUTHORIZED TO GIVE AWAY THE MONEY OR PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE UNAUTHORIZED AND UNLAWFUL ACTS OF ITS OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. CONSEQUENTLY, OUR OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO CANCEL YOUR INDEBTEDNESS AND THUS RELIEVE YOU OF YOUR OBLIGATION FOR REFUNDING THE PAYMENTS ILLEGALLY MADE AND ERRONEOUSLY RECEIVED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SUM OF $50 IS FOUND TO BE DUE THE UNITED STATES, AND YOU ARE AGAIN REQUESTED TO PROMPTLY REMIT SUCH AMOUNT BY CHECK, BANK DRAFT, OR POSTAL MONEY ORDER MADE PAYABLE TO THE U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE

POST OFFICE BOX 2610

WASHINGTON 13, D.C.

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO LIQUIDATE YOUR INDEBTEDNESS IN ONE PAYMENT, WE WILL RAISE NO OBJECTION TO YOUR MAKING REGULAR PERIODIC PAYMENTS OF NOT LESS THAN $10 PER MONTH AGAINST YOUR ACCOUNT. IN THE EVENT YOUR INDEBTEDNESS IS TO BE LIQUIDATED ON AN INSTALLMENT BASIS, PARTIAL PAYMENT SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS AT REGULAR MONTHLY INTERVALS.