B-218517, JUL 7, 1985, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

B-218517: Jul 7, 1985

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AGENT CASHIER IS RELIEVED OF LIABILITY FOR LOSS OF FUNDS DUE TO BURGLARY IN WHICH ENTIRE SAFE AND CONTENTS WERE STOLEN AND AGENT CASHIER WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE. D.C. 20201 THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE STOLEN SAFE CONTAINED $9. INTERIM CASH RECEIPTS DOCUMENTS FOR WHICH AGENCY CASHIER WARREN WAS RESPONSIBLE. THE CHECKS WERE RECOVERED. THIS INDIVIDUAL IS AWAITING TRIAL. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO GRANT RELIEF TO ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS WHEN GAO AGREES WITH THE DETERMINATION BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DELEGATE THAT THE LOSS OCCURRED WHILE THE ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER WAS CARRYING OUT OFFICIAL DUTIES. THAT THE LOSS WAS NOT THE RESULT OF FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OFFICER.

B-218517, JUL 7, 1985, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS - RELIEF - PHYSICAL LOSSES, ETC. OF FUNDS, VOUCHERS, ETC. DIGEST: UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(A), AGENT CASHIER IS RELIEVED OF LIABILITY FOR LOSS OF FUNDS DUE TO BURGLARY IN WHICH ENTIRE SAFE AND CONTENTS WERE STOLEN AND AGENT CASHIER WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE.

MR. JOHN J. O'SHAUGHNESSY: ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES WASHINGTON, D.C. 20201

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1985, REQUESTING RELIEF FOR AGENT CASHIER JANET L. WARREN OF THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, FOR A LOSS BY THEFT OF $5,290.53 IN IMPREST FUNDS. FOR THE REASONS STATED BELOW, WE GRANT RELIEF.

ACCORDING TO A POLICE REPORT IN THE FILE, AT APPROXIMATELY 7:45 A.M. ON JUNE 18, 1983, AN INDIVIDUAL SMASHED A WINDOW AT ONE OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HANES HISPANIC EXAMINATION CENTERS AND ENTERED THE PREMISES. SHORTLY THEREAFTER SEVERAL WITNESSES SAW THE INDIVIDUAL EXIT THE PREMISES CARRYING A SAFE WHICH HE DEPOSITED IN THE TRUNK OF A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY AN ACCOMPLICE. SUBSEQUENTLY, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE STOLEN SAFE CONTAINED $9,770.51 IN UNCASHED CHECKS, COINS CURRENCY, AND INTERIM CASH RECEIPTS DOCUMENTS FOR WHICH AGENCY CASHIER WARREN WAS RESPONSIBLE. DUE TO AN UNDERCOVER OPERATION BY A SECRET SERVICE AGENT, WHO PRETENDED TO BE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING THE STOLEN CHECKS, THE CHECKS WERE RECOVERED, WHICH REDUCED THE LOSS TO $5,290.53. THE SECRET SERVICE AGENT ALSO ARRESTED THE INDIVIDUAL WHO TRIED TO SELL THE CHECKS, AND THIS INDIVIDUAL IS AWAITING TRIAL.

UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(A), THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO GRANT RELIEF TO ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS WHEN GAO AGREES WITH THE DETERMINATION BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DELEGATE THAT THE LOSS OCCURRED WHILE THE ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER WAS CARRYING OUT OFFICIAL DUTIES, AND THAT THE LOSS WAS NOT THE RESULT OF FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OFFICER. YOU HAVE MADE THE REQUISITE FINDINGS, AND WE CONCUR.

THE EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THAT A BURGLARY OCCURRED. INDEED, THE EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING IN VIEW OF THE EYEWITNESS REPORTS OF SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS. ADDITIONALLY, THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT MS. WARREN IS IMPLICATED IN THE THEFT OR THAT SHE FAILED TO USE DUE CARE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES TO SAFEGUARD THE IMPREST FUNDS.

ACCORDINGLY, RELIEF IS GRANTED FOR THE LOSS OF $5,290.53. ALSO, YOU SHOULD ASCERTAIN THE STATUS OF THE DEFENDANT WHO HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR TRYING TO SELL THE STOLEN CHECKS. IF HE IS CONVICTED OF THE BURGLARY, THEN YOU SHOULD DETERMINE IF COLLECTION ACTION IS FEASIBLE.