B-151168(1), MAY 18, 1972

B-151168(1): May 18, 1972

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THE SUBJECT AMOUNTS ARE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN MADE ON BEHALF OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENT INVOLVED. THE INFORMATION OF RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE DETAILED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO WORK AS A "SKY MARSHAL" IN CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS ASSIGNED TO THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION AND THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE BY THE PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 11. WHEN YOU WERE PHASED OUT OF THE PROGRAM AND YOUR FINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER WAS COMPUTED AND THE AMOUNTS DUE WERE APPLIED AGAINST TRAVEL ADVANCES RECEIVED. WE RECOGNIZED THAT THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS WERE MADE BY FAA TO THE INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED. WE CONSIDERED THESE PAYMENTS TO BE MADE FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENT CONCERNED THE SAME AS IF THE TRAVEL ADVANCES WERE MADE TO A MILITARY MEMBER NOT ON DETAIL.

B-151168(1), MAY 18, 1972

SKY MARSHAL - ERRONEOUS OVERPAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES - PROPRIETY OF COLLECTION CONCERNING WHETHER ROBERT W. ADAMS, A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES SERVING AS A "SKY MARSHAL" FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, MAY BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ERRONEOUS OVERPAYMENTS OF TRAVEL FUNDS MADE BY THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION. THE SUBJECT AMOUNTS ARE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN MADE ON BEHALF OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENT INVOLVED. B-151168, NOVEMBER 22, 1971. ACCORDINGLY, THE OVERPAYMENT MAY BE WITHHELD FROM MR. ADAMS' CURRENT AND RETIRED PAY, PURSUANT TO 5 U.S.C. 5514.

TO RMC ROBERT W. ADAMS:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR REGISTERED LETTER OF FEBRUARY 14, 1972, PROTESTING YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF OUTSTANDING TRAVEL FUNDS ADVANCED BY THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) TO YOU AS A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES.

THE INFORMATION OF RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE DETAILED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO WORK AS A "SKY MARSHAL" IN CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS ASSIGNED TO THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION AND THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE BY THE PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 11, 1970, RELATING TO AIR PIRACY. DURING YOUR DETAIL YOU, ALONG WITH OTHER SKY MARSHALS, RECEIVED TRAVEL ADVANCES FROM FAA IN THE AMOUNT OF $500 AT 15- DAY INTERVALS. CONSEQUENTLY, WHEN YOU WERE PHASED OUT OF THE PROGRAM AND YOUR FINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER WAS COMPUTED AND THE AMOUNTS DUE WERE APPLIED AGAINST TRAVEL ADVANCES RECEIVED, YOU APPARENTLY HAD BEEN OVERPAID AND AS A RESULT BECAME INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES.

YOU SAY THAT AS A MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND HOW YOU CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ERRONEOUS OVERPAYMENTS MADE BY FAA. OUR DECISION OF NOVEMBER 22, 1971, B-151168, WE RECOGNIZED THAT THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS WERE MADE BY FAA TO THE INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED. HOWEVER, WE CONSIDERED THESE PAYMENTS TO BE MADE FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENT CONCERNED THE SAME AS IF THE TRAVEL ADVANCES WERE MADE TO A MILITARY MEMBER NOT ON DETAIL. THEREFORE, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF LAW CODIFIED IN 5 U.S.C. 5514 WHICH AUTHORIZES THE INSTALLMENT DEDUCTION FROM PAY, INCLUDING CURRENT PAY AND RETIRED PAY, OF AN INDEBTEDNESS BECAUSE OF AN ERRONEOUS PAYMENT, WE HELD THAT RECOVERY OF THE TRAVEL ADVANCES COULD BE MADE THROUGH WITHHOLDING.

IN REGARD TO YOUR STATEMENT THAT IT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING THAT A DEBT CAUSED BY OVERPAYMENT BECOMES INVALID IF THE DEBT IS NOT CHARGED AGAINST AN INDIVIDUAL WITHIN 6 MONTHS, THERE IS NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY WHICH PRECLUDES THE UNITED STATES FROM COLLECTING A DEBT BECAUSE THE DEBT WAS NOT CHARGED AGAINST THE INDIVIDUAL WITHIN 6 MONTHS.