B-128343, AUG. 10, 1956

B-128343: Aug 10, 1956

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YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY AT BOSWELL. ON THE BASIS OF YOUR CERTIFICATION YOU WERE PAID $73.38 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AS CLAIMED. WE LEARNED THAT THE CHECK WAS MAILED TO YOU AT DENVER. THUS RAISING QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY WAS PERFORMED. PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO TRANSPORTS HIS DEPENDENTS AT HIS EXPENSE IS ENTITLED TO A MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION FOR ALL TRAVEL PERFORMED WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. THAT THE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE AFTER THE TRAVEL HAS BEEN COMPLETED. YOU FURTHER INDICATE THAT SINCE YOU WERE PAID FOR HER TRAVEL TO CHICAGO EVEN THOUGH THE TRUE DESTINATION WAS KNOWN. THERE WAS NO INTENT TO DECEIVE.

B-128343, AUG. 10, 1956

TO FRANK B. NORDSTROM, M. D.:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 1, 1956, REQUESTS REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 25, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL FROM BOSWELL, NEW MEXICO, TO DENVER, COLORADO, INCIDENT TO YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY AS CAPTAIN, AIR FORCE.

BY ORDERS DATED JUNE 9, 1953, YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY AT BOSWELL, NEW MEXICO, AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO YOUR HOME, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. THEREAFTER, YOU SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL ON WHICH YOU CERTIFIED THAT YOUR DEPENDENTS TRAVELED FROM BOSWELL TO CHICAGO BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE AT PERSONAL EXPENSE DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 26 TO 30, 1953. ON THE BASIS OF YOUR CERTIFICATION YOU WERE PAID $73.38 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AS CLAIMED.

UPON AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER INVOLVED, HOWEVER, WE LEARNED THAT THE CHECK WAS MAILED TO YOU AT DENVER, THUS RAISING QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY WAS PERFORMED. BY LETTER OF JUNE 18, 1955, YOU ADVISED THE AIR FORCE FINANCE CENTER, DENVER, COLORADO, THAT YOUR DEPENDENTS DID NOT TRAVEL TO CHICAGO AS PREVIOUSLY CERTIFIED BY YOU. AFTER YOU REMITTED THE AMOUNT PAID, YOU FILED THE PRESENT CLAIM IN WHICH YOU STATE YOUR DEPENDENTS ACTUALLY TRAVELED FROM BOSWELL TO DENVER ON JUNE 26 AND 27, 1953.

PARAGRAPH 7003, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO TRANSPORTS HIS DEPENDENTS AT HIS EXPENSE IS ENTITLED TO A MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION FOR ALL TRAVEL PERFORMED WITHIN THE UNITED STATES, AND THAT THE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE AFTER THE TRAVEL HAS BEEN COMPLETED. YOU REFER TO THAT PROVISION IN YOUR PRESENT LETTER AND STATE THAT SINCE YOUR WIFE COMPLETED THE TRAVEL TO DENVER YOU BELIEVE YOUR CLAIM SHOULD BE PAID. YOU FURTHER INDICATE THAT SINCE YOU WERE PAID FOR HER TRAVEL TO CHICAGO EVEN THOUGH THE TRUE DESTINATION WAS KNOWN, THERE WAS NO INTENT TO DECEIVE.

ALTHOUGH CONTROLLING REGULATIONS PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AFTER TRAVEL HAS BEEN COMPLETED, THE LAW IMPOSES A FURTHER OBLIGATION THAT CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BE BASED ON TRUE FACTS. THE ACT OF JUNE 25, 1948, 28 U.S.C. 2514, PROVIDES 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 PRESENTATION OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WITH KNOWLEDGE THAT THE FACTS STATED IN SUPPORT OF THAT CLAIM ARE FALSE, VITIATES AND DESTROYS THE CLAIMANT'S RIGHTS IN THE ENTIRE CLAIM. IN SUCH A SITUATION, NO AMOUNT MAY BE PAID AND THE ENTIRE PAYMENT ON THE FALSE VOUCHER MUST BE RECOVERED EVEN THOUGH THE CLAIMANT LATER ALTERS HIS STATEMENT TO REFLECT THE TRUE FACTS.

IN YOUR CASE, YOU CERTIFIED THAT YOUR WIFE TRAVELED FROM BOSWELL TO CHICAGO WHEN THE VOUCHER WAS SUBMITTED APPARENTLY WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE THAT TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED BETWEEN THOSE POINTS. THAT CLAIM WAS FALSE AND IS FORFEITED. NOTWITHSTANDING YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE TRUE FACTS WERE KNOWN TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WHEN THE FALSE CLAIMS WAS FILED AND THAT YOU HAD NO INTENT TO DECEIVE WHEN YOU FILED A CLAIM FOR A GREATER AMOUNT THAN WAS DUE, PAYMENT MAY NOT NOW BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF YOUR STATEMENT THAT THEY ACTUALLY TRAVELED A LESSER DISTANCE INCIDENT TO YOUR CHANGE OF STATION.