B-128166, AUG. 15, 1956

B-128166: Aug 15, 1956

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

YOU WERE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES FROM DUTY OVERSEAS. YOU WERE PAID $246.87 FOR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL AS CLAIMED. AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN YOU WERE ASSIGNED TO DUTY OVERSEAS. SINCE IT THUS APPEARED THAT THE TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED OR WAS PERFORMED FROM A POINT AT WHICH BONA FIDE RESIDENCE HAD NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED BY YOUR DEPENDENTS. THE AMOUNT PAID WAS COLLECTED FROM YOU BY CHECK AGE. YOU THEN FILED ANOTHER CLAIM IN WHICH YOU CERTIFIED THAT THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY WAS PERFORMED FOR A LESSER DISTANCE. OUR DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED ON THE ACT OF JUNE 25. YOU SAY THAT IN FILING THE ORIGINAL CLAIM IT WAS YOUR INTENTION TO COLLECT ONLY THAT WHICH WAS DUE. THE CITED PROVISION OF LAW IS THAT ANY CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES BY ANY PERSON WHO CORRUPTLY PRACTICES OR ATTEMPTS TO PRACTICE ANY FRAUD AGAINST THE UNITED STATES IN THE PROOF.

B-128166, AUG. 15, 1956

TO FIRST LIEUTENANT EUGENE P. COOK, USAF:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 10, 1956, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 30, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF YOUR DEPENDENTS FROM SIOUX CITY, IOWA, TO EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA.

BY ORDERS DATED AUGUST 22 AND 26, 1953, YOU WERE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES FROM DUTY OVERSEAS, AND ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE. ON SEPTEMBER 24, 1953, YOU SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS ON WHICH YOU CERTIFIED THAT YOUR DEPENDENTS (WIFE AND DAUGHTER) TRAVELED FROM TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, TO EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA, BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 5 TO 17, 1953. YOU WERE PAID $246.87 FOR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL AS CLAIMED. UPON AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS, HOWEVER, WE LEARNED THAT YOUR DEPENDENTS PREVIOUSLY HAD TRAVELED TO SIOUX CITY, IOWA, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN YOU WERE ASSIGNED TO DUTY OVERSEAS; THAT ON JANUARY 2 AND JULY 1, 1953, YOU HAD EXECUTED FORMS WHICH SHOWED THE ADDRESS OF YOUR WIFE AS SIOUX CITY, AND THAT THE ORDERS OF AUGUST 22, 1953, AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM THAT CITY TO YOUR NEW DUTY STATION IN THE UNITED STATES. SINCE IT THUS APPEARED THAT THE TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED OR WAS PERFORMED FROM A POINT AT WHICH BONA FIDE RESIDENCE HAD NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED BY YOUR DEPENDENTS, WE TOOK EXCEPTION TO THE PAYMENT, AND THE AMOUNT PAID WAS COLLECTED FROM YOU BY CHECK AGE. YOU THEN FILED ANOTHER CLAIM IN WHICH YOU CERTIFIED THAT THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY WAS PERFORMED FOR A LESSER DISTANCE, I.E., FROM SIOUX CITY, IOWA, TO EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA. OUR DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED ON THE ACT OF JUNE 25, 1948, 28 U.S.C. 2514.

YOU OBJECT TO THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM ON THE BASIS OF THE INCORRECT STATEMENTS MADE IN THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER AND THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1948 ACT. YOU SAY THAT IN FILING THE ORIGINAL CLAIM IT WAS YOUR INTENTION TO COLLECT ONLY THAT WHICH WAS DUE; THAT YOU RELIED ON ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE OF PERSONNEL IN THE FINANCE OFFICE WHO PREPARED THE VOUCHER, AND THAT YOU SIGNED IT WITHOUT CAREFUL EXAMINATION. YOU FURTHER SAY THAT UPON BEING NOTIFIED OF THE ERROR YOU DID NOT DENY THE CHARGE OR PRESENT ANY EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE CLAIM AS FILED. THEREFORE, YOU EXPRESS THE BELIEF THAT YOUR INTENTIONS AS MANIFESTED BY YOUR ACTIONS FAIL TO SHOW ANY TAINT OF FRAUD OR ATTEMPTED FRAUD WITHIN THE MEANING OF 28 U.S.C. 2514.

THE CITED PROVISION OF LAW IS THAT ANY CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES BY ANY PERSON WHO CORRUPTLY PRACTICES OR ATTEMPTS TO PRACTICE ANY FRAUD AGAINST THE UNITED STATES IN THE PROOF, STATEMENT, OR ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM. UNDER THAT PROVISION OF LAW IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN THE VIEW OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE FRAUDULENT PRESENTATION OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR A GREATER AMOUNT THAN IS DUE, OR FOR AN AMOUNT THAT IS NOT DUE, VITIATES AND DESTROYS THE CLAIMANT'S RIGHTS IN THE ENTIRE CLAIM. IN SUCH A SITUATION, NO AMOUNT MAY BE PAID ON THE ACCOUNT EVEN THOUGH THE CLAIMANT LATER ALTERS HIS STATEMENT TO REFLECT THE TRUE FACTS, AND THE ENTIRE PAYMENT ON THE FALSE VOUCHER MUST BE RECOVERED. IN YOUR CASE, YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF YOUR DEPENDENTS FROM TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, TO EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA, WHEN THE VOUCHER WAS SUBMITTED SINCE TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED BETWEEN THOSE POINTS. SINCE THE CLAIM ADMITTEDLY WAS FALSE, THE ENTIRE CLAIM IS FORFEITED, AND PAYMENT MAY NOT NOW BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF YOUR STATEMENT THAT THEY ACTUALLY TRAVELED FROM SIOUX CITY, A LESSER DISTANCE, INCIDENT TO YOUR CHANGE OF STATION. THIS IS TRUE NOTWITHSTANDING YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOU WERE POORLY ADVISED, AND DID NOT INTEND TO DEFRAUD THE GOVERNMENT BY CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL THAT WAS NOT PERFORMED.