B-134273, JUL. 31, 1958

B-134273: Jul 31, 1958

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YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM PERMANENT STATION AT WASHINGTON. THIS CERTIFICATION WAS THE BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT OF $176.82 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR HER TRAVEL. YOU WERE PAID $157.02 ON THE BASIS OF THAT CERTIFICATION. NOTICES OF EXCEPTION WERE TAKEN AGAINST BOTH PAYMENTS. IN YOUR REPLY TO THE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION YOU EXPLAINED THAT ON THE WESTWARD TRIP YOUR WIFE WAS FORCED TO STOP AT MORAN. FOR THAT REASON YOU STATED THAT YOUR WIFE'S TRIP TO CALIFORNIA WAS COMPLETED ON JULY 16. WAS COMPLETED SHORTLY AFTER JULY 17. THAT YOU WERE PAID ON THE BASIS OF FALSE CLAIMS. YOU STATE THAT THERE ARE NO ELEMENTS OF FRAUD OR MISUSE OF FUNDS. THAT TRAVEL WAS ACTUALLY PERFORMED. THAT "ANY DEVIATION AS TO ACTUAL DATES WAS DUE TO INEVITABLE CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH THE WRITER HAD NO CONTROL.'.

B-134273, JUL. 31, 1958

TO MR. HERBERT E. MANN:

BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1957, YOU REQUEST, IN EFFECT, THAT WE RECONSIDER OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 22, 1957, RELATING TO YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE AMOUNT OF $333.84.

IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 22, 1957, WE THOROUGHLY REVIEWED THE CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED IN THE OVERPAYMENT TO YOU OF DEPENDENT TRAVEL ALLOWANCES. BRIEFLY, YOU WERE RELIEVED FROM PERMANENT STATION AT WASHINGTON, D.C., BY ORDERS DATED FEBRUARY 13, 1952, AND ASSIGNED TO MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, PENDING OVERSEAS DUTY. ON MAY 19, 1952, YOU SUBMITTED A CLAIM CERTIFYING THAT YOUR WIFE DEPARTED EMMAUS, PENNSYLVANIA, ON APRIL 5, 1952, AND ARRIVED AT MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE ON APRIL 6, 1952. THIS CERTIFICATION WAS THE BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT OF $176.82 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR HER TRAVEL. SUBSEQUENT TO YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY AT MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE BY ORDERS DATED JANUARY 27, 1953, YOU SUBMITTED A CLAIM FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE ON FEBRUARY 17, 1953, CERTIFYING THAT YOUR WIFE DEPARTED SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA, ON JANUARY 27, 1953, AND THAT SHE ARRIVED AT ST. IGNACE, MICHIGAN, ON FEBRUARY 4, 1953. YOU WERE PAID $157.02 ON THE BASIS OF THAT CERTIFICATION. AFTER AN AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS, NOTICES OF EXCEPTION WERE TAKEN AGAINST BOTH PAYMENTS. IN YOUR REPLY TO THE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION YOU EXPLAINED THAT ON THE WESTWARD TRIP YOUR WIFE WAS FORCED TO STOP AT MORAN, MICHIGAN, DUE TO THE DEATH OF HER FATHER. FOR THAT REASON YOU STATED THAT YOUR WIFE'S TRIP TO CALIFORNIA WAS COMPLETED ON JULY 16, 1952, INSTEAD OF APRIL 6, 1952. ALTHOUGH YOUR BASIC ORDERS ASSIGNED YOU TO MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE PENDING OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT, YOU STATED IN YOUR REPLY TO THE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION THAT DUE TO A SUDDEN TRANSFER TO ALASKA FOR TEMPORARY DUTY YOU HAD NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO RETURN YOUR DEPENDENTS TO MICHIGAN ON JULY 17, 1952, ONE DAY AFTER THEIR ARRIVAL. IT APPEARS THAT THE TRAVEL TO ST. IGNACE, MICHIGAN, WAS COMPLETED SHORTLY AFTER JULY 17, 1952, RATHER THAN ON FEBRUARY 4, 1953, AS CERTIFIED BY YOU. IN VIEW OF THESE FACTS WE STATED, IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 22, 1957, THAT YOU WERE PAID ON THE BASIS OF FALSE CLAIMS, AND DEMANDED REPAYMENT OF THESE AMOUNTS ON THE GROUND THAT THE FRAUDULENT PRESENTATION OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT VITIATES AND DESTROYS THE CLAIMANT'S RIGHT IN THE ENTIRE CLAIM.

IN YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1957, YOU STATE THAT THERE ARE NO ELEMENTS OF FRAUD OR MISUSE OF FUNDS, THAT TRAVEL WAS ACTUALLY PERFORMED, AND THAT "ANY DEVIATION AS TO ACTUAL DATES WAS DUE TO INEVITABLE CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH THE WRITER HAD NO CONTROL.'

FROM THE FACTS RECITED ABOVE IT IS CLEAR THAT ON MAY 19, 1952, WHEN YOU SUBMITTED THE FIRST CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES, YOU KNEW THAT YOUR WIFE HAD NOT PERFORMED THE TRAVEL. LIKEWISE, ON FEBRUARY 17, 1953, WHEN THE SECOND CLAIM WAS SUBMITTED, YOU KNEW THAT THE INFORMATION CERTIFIED ON THE VOUCHER WAS INCORRECT. REGARDLESS OF YOUR REASONS FOR CERTIFYING THAT TRAVEL HAD BEEN PERFORMED ON DATES WHEN IT HAD NOT, BY YOUR OWN ADMISSION THE INFORMATION IN THE VOUCHERS REGARDING THE DATES OF YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL WAS FALSE. MOREOVER, YOU DID HAVE CONTROL OVER THE STATEMENTS; YOU WERE NOT FORCED TO WRITE FALSE INFORMATION ON THE VOUCHERS. SINCE THESE FALSE STATEMENTS HAD A MATERIAL BEARING ON THE AMOUNT PAID--- NOTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN PAID IF THE TRUE FACTS HAD BEEN REFLECTED ON THE VOUCHERS--- THE PAYMENTS ON THE FALSE VOUCHERS MUST BE RECOVERED FROM YOU PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. 2514, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT:

"A 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, ESTABLISHMENT, OR ALLOWANCE THEREOF.'

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU ARE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE AMOUNT OF $333.84. IN VIEW OF THE ELAPSED TIME SINCE THE GOVERNMENT MADE ITS FIRST DEMAND UPON YOU FOR REPAYMENT, YOUR REMITTANCE IN THE FORM OF A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER, PAYABLE TO THE "UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE," SHOULD BE MADE PROMPTLY.