B-140063, AUG. 7, 1959

B-140063: Aug 7, 1959

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GEORGE SHOOP: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ACTION TAKEN IN OUR CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 16. THE REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION WAS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON YOUR BEHALF BY MR. THAT AFTER YOUR DISCHARGE AND RETURN HOME YOU WERE UNABLE TO LOCATE YOUR BONDS. THAT IN 1944 YOU WERE ABLE TO OBTAIN THE SERIAL NUMBERS OF THE BONDS. THAT YOUR HOME WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE AND THE SERIAL NUMBERS WERE LOST. THAT YOU WERE TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN YOUR BONDS WERE LOCATED. OR A TOTAL OF $248.75 WERE MADE FROM YOUR PAY DURING THAT PERIOD. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 16. DURING WHICH PERIOD CERTAIN OFFICIAL RECORDS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW.

B-140063, AUG. 7, 1959

TO MR. GEORGE SHOOP:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ACTION TAKEN IN OUR CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 16, 1958, WHICH SETTLEMENT DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR LIBERTY LOAN BONDS BELIEVED TO BE PURCHASED THROUGH DEDUCTIONS FROM YOUR PAY WHILE SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY DURING WORLD WAR I. THE REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION WAS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON YOUR BEHALF BY MR. JOHN J. CORCORAN, NATIONAL REHABILITATION COMMISSION, THE AMERICAN LEGION, WASHINGTON, .C., AT THE REQUEST OF MR. WALTER H. LANGE, FIELD SERVICE OFFICER, THE AMERICAN LEGION, DEPARTMENT OF INDIANA.

IN YOUR LETTER POSTMARKED NOVEMBER 19, 1957, ADDRESSED TO THE UNITED STATES TREASURY AND REFERRED HERE THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, YOU STATED THAT YOU PURCHASED LIBERTY BONDS DURING WORLD WAR I; THAT AFTER YOUR DISCHARGE AND RETURN HOME YOU WERE UNABLE TO LOCATE YOUR BONDS; THAT IN 1944 YOU WERE ABLE TO OBTAIN THE SERIAL NUMBERS OF THE BONDS; THAT YOUR HOME WAS DESTROYED BY FIRE AND THE SERIAL NUMBERS WERE LOST; AND THAT YOU WERE TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN YOUR BONDS WERE LOCATED, BUT THAT YOU RECEIVED NO SUCH NOTIFICATION.

AN EXAMINATION OF A TRANSCRIPT OF YOUR ARMY PAY RECORD SHOWS THAT BOND DEDUCTIONS AT $25 PER MONTH FROM OCTOBER 1917 THROUGH JUNE 1918, AND $23.75 FOR THE MONTH OF JULY 1918, OR A TOTAL OF $248.75 WERE MADE FROM YOUR PAY DURING THAT PERIOD. HOWEVER, YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 16, 1958, FOR THE REASON THAT, SINCE YOU FAILED TO PRESENT A CLAIM FOR APPROXIMATELY 40 YEARS, DURING WHICH PERIOD CERTAIN OFFICIAL RECORDS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW, IT CANNOT BE ASCERTAINED THAT THE BONDS HAD NOT BEEN DELIVERED AND REDEEMED, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF OFFICIAL RECORDS SHOWING THAT PAYMENT WAS NOT MADE, THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM.

A REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT, U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT, CONCERNING CASES OF THIS KIND INDICATES THAT LIBERTY BONDS PURCHASED THROUGH PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS WERE NOT REQUIRED TO BE ISSUED IN REGISTERED FORM AND FOR THE MOST PART WERE DELIVERED CURRENTLY TO THE PURCHASER. IS STATED IN THE REPORT, AS PERTINENT TO SUCH CASES, THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT DOES NOT KEEP A RECORD OF THE INDIVIDUAL HOLDINGS OF COUPON BONDS AND NOTES, AS THESE SECURITIES ARE PAYABLE TO BEARER AND TITLE TO THEM PASSES BY DELIVERY WITHOUT ENDORSEMENT AND WITHOUT NOTICE TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.

THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, HAS REPORTED WITH RESPECT TO SUCH CASES THAT IN VIEW OF THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT HAS ELAPSED, AND THE EXTENT OF THE NORMAL DETERIORATION OF DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FILES OVER SUCH AN EXTENDED PERIOD, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IS NOT IN A POSITION TO DETERMINE CONCLUSIVELY THAT A LIBERTY LOAN BOND WAS OR WAS NOT ISSUED TO A MEMBER WHO HAD DEDUCTIONS FROM HIS MILITARY PAY DURING THE PERIOD 1917 THROUGH 1919.

THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF THE VALIDITY AND NONPAYMENT OF A CLAIM, HAVE CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ALLOW A CLAIM WHERE THE CLAIMANT HAS SLEPT ON HIS RIGHTS FOR LONG PERIODS OF YEARS. SEE 4 COMP. DEC. 276; 5 COMP. DEC. 282; AND 4 COMP. GEN. 805. INASMUCH AS YOU FAILED TO PRESENT YOUR CLAIM FOR APPROXIMATELY 40 YEARS, DURING WHICH PERIOD THE RECORDS NECESSARY EITHER TO JUSTIFY OR REFUTE YOUR CLAIM HAVE BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW OR OTHERWISE HAVE BECOME UNAVAILABLE, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.