B-234954, B-234043, Jan 17, 1990

B-234043,B-234954: Jan 17, 1990

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

This Office is unable to grant relief. The accountable officer has no personal liability since the applicable accounts have been settled by operation of law. Or where records are retained at the site. Murphy: This is in response to two letters. You requested relief for the following losses: GAO File # Payee Amount B-234954 Juana Ferrer $ 196.00 B-235043 Amy Ginn $ 75.00 The losses occurred when the payee negotiated both the original and replacement checks that were mistakenly issued by Treasury. Because accounts are no longer physically transmitted to this Office. The disbursing center which issued the original and replacement checks is charged with notice of the loss on the date that it receives the debit voucher or.

B-234954, B-234043, Jan 17, 1990

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Accountable Officers - Disbursing officers - Liability restrictions - Statutes of limitation Since Treasury disbursing official received notice of losses resulting from the negotiation of both the original and replacement checks more than three years ago, this Office is unable to grant relief. The accountable officer has no personal liability since the applicable accounts have been settled by operation of law. We consider the date of receipt by the agency of substantially complete accounts, or where records are retained at the site, the end of the period of the account, as the point from which the 3-year limitation period begins to run. B-198451.2, Sept. 15, 1982.

Mr. Gerald Murphy

Fiscal Assistant Secretary

Department of the Treasury

Dear Mr. Murphy:

This is in response to two letters, dated March 21 and March 29, 1989, in which you requested relief, under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c), of Mr. Robert L. Langdon, an accountable officer, for overpayments. In each of the two cases, Mr. Langdon's account has been settled by operation of law. As a result, he has no personal financial liability for the losses in question.

You requested relief for the following losses:

GAO File # Payee Amount

B-234954 Juana Ferrer $ 196.00

B-235043 Amy Ginn $ 75.00

The losses occurred when the payee negotiated both the original and replacement checks that were mistakenly issued by Treasury.

Under 31 U.S.C. Sec.3526(c), the Comptroller General may settle accounts of accountable officers "within 3 years after the date the Comptroller General receives the account." Because accounts are no longer physically transmitted to this Office, we consider the date when an accountable officer certifies and files his or her periodic statement of accountability as the point when the three-year period begins to run. See generally B-198451.2, Sept. 15, 1982; B-199542, Nov. 7, 1980. The disbursing center which issued the original and replacement checks is charged with notice of the loss on the date that it receives the debit voucher or, if the date of receipt is unknown, the date on which the voucher is issued. B-226393, Apr. 29, 1988.

It is clear from the record here that each loss was recognized more than three years ago. In the case of Juana Ferrer, Treasury's Bureau of Government Financial Operations issued the debit voucher on June 25, 1985; hence, the three-year period in which we would have been able to settle the account expired at the end of June 1988.

In the case of Amy Ginn, a journal voucher was used instead of a debit voucher and the date on the journal voucher indicates that the disbursing center had notice of the $75.00 loss no later than April 4, 1986. Thus, the three-year period in which we would have been able to settle the account expired at the end of April 1989.

Accordingly, since the period for settlement has passed in each instance, the accountable officer cannot be held personally responsible for the loss, and relief is no longer possible or necessary. In order to avoid this situation in the future, please submit relief requests in a timely manner.