B-135954, MAY 14, 1958

B-135954: May 14, 1958

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DOROTHY MAE DESCHASEAUX: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED APRIL 14. AS YOU WERE ADVISED IN LETTER OF MARCH 31. WAS DISCHARGED FROM HIS FIRST ENLISTMENT IN THE ARMY. YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE DIVORCED FROM MR. COLIN CASHED THE CHECKS AND THE CANCELLED CHECKS WERE RETURNED TO THIS OFFICE. YOUR ATTORNEY HAS ADVISED YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT LEGALLY LIABLE TO MAKE REPAYMENT. WHICH PROVIDES THAT CHECKS LIKE THESE ARE NEGOTIATED BY ENDORSEMENT COMPLETED BY DELIVERY. YOU WERE ERRONEOUSLY PAID $443.81 OF PUBLIC MONEY. COLIN MAY HAVE BEEN THE ULTIMATE BENEFICIARY OF THE MONEY. 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.

B-135954, MAY 14, 1958

TO MRS. DOROTHY MAE DESCHASEAUX:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER DATED APRIL 14, 1958, WRITTEN ON YOUR BEHALF BY MR. WILLIAM J. COSTELLO, ATTORNEY AT LAW, RELATIVE TO YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE SUM OF $443.81.

AS YOU WERE ADVISED IN LETTER OF MARCH 31, 1958, FROM OUR CLAIMS DIVISION, THE INDEBTEDNESS REPRESENTS AN AMOUNT DUE THE UNITED STATES FOR ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS OF CLASS E ALLOTMENT AT THE RATE OF $170 PER MONTH TO YOU UNDER YOUR FORMER MARRIED NAME OF MRS. DOROTHY MAE COLIN FOR THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 1, 1946, TO MARCH 1, 1947, SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE YOUR FORMER HUSBAND, FRED S. COLIN, WAS DISCHARGED FROM HIS FIRST ENLISTMENT IN THE ARMY. IN YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1955, YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE DIVORCED FROM MR. COLIN IN NOVEMBER 1945 AND THAT IN FEBRUARY OR MARCH OF 1947 MR. COLIN BROUGHT THE CHECKS TO YOU AND ASKED YOU TO ENDORSE THEM. YOU ENDORSED THEM AND RETURNED THEM TO MR. COLIN. MR. COLIN CASHED THE CHECKS AND THE CANCELLED CHECKS WERE RETURNED TO THIS OFFICE. ON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING FACTS, YOUR ATTORNEY HAS ADVISED YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT LEGALLY LIABLE TO MAKE REPAYMENT.

THESE CHECKS READ,"PAY TO THE ORDER OF MRS. DOROTHY MAE COLIN.' YOU ENDORSED THEM IN BLANK BY SIGNING YOUR NAME ON THE BACK. THEN, BY DELIVERING THE ENDORSED CHECKS TO MR. COLIN, YOU COMPLETED THE ACT OF NEGOTIATING THE CHECKS AND ENABLED MR. COLIN TO CASH THEM. SEE 21 VERNON'S ANNOTATED MISSOURI STATUTES, SECTION 401.030, WHICH PROVIDES THAT CHECKS LIKE THESE ARE NEGOTIATED BY ENDORSEMENT COMPLETED BY DELIVERY. NEGOTIATION OF THESE CHECKS BY YOU CONSTITUTED AN ABSOLUTE PAYMENT TO YOU OF THE AMOUNT OF MONEY REPRESENTED BY THE CHECKS. SEE 70 C.J.S. 238, PAYMENT, SECTION 24C, AND YARBROUGH V. MARKS, 121 SO. 301. THUS, IN EFFECT, YOU WERE ERRONEOUSLY PAID $443.81 OF PUBLIC MONEY, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT MR. COLIN MAY HAVE BEEN THE ULTIMATE BENEFICIARY OF THE MONEY.

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 BARNES ET AL. V. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 22 C.CLS. 366; UNITED STATES V. BENTLEY, 107 F.2D 382; AND THE CASES COLLECTED AND DISCUSSED IN UNITED STATES V. SUTTON CHEMICAL COMPANY, 11 F.2D 24, AND IN 63 A.L.R. 1346.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU SHOULD REMIT THE AMOUNT OF $443.81 WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, BY CHECK OR POSTAL MONEY ORDER PAYABLE TO THE "U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.' IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO PAY THE WHOLE DEBT AT THIS TIME, IT WILL BE SATISFACTORY IF YOU WILL PAY IT BY A SERIES OF MONTHLY REMITTANCES LARGE ENOUGH TO REFUND THE ENTIRE AMOUNT WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME. YOUR LETTER CONTAINING SUCH REMITTANCE SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, POST OFFICE BOX 2610, WASHINGTON 13, D.C. ..END