B-234959, B-235038, B-234975, B-234941, May 8, 1989, Off. of Gen. Counsel

B-234941,B-235038,B-234975,B-234959: May 8, 1989

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APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Accountable Officers - Disbursing officers - Liability restrictions - Statutes of limitation DIGEST: Since four requests for relief of the Treasury disbursing officer were received more than three years after the losses resulting from the negotiation of both the original and a replacement check. This office is unable to grant relief. Or where records are retained at the site. Gerald Murphy Fiscal Assistant Secretary Department of the Treasury: This is in response to four of your recent letters requesting relief. You have requested relief for the following losses: GAO File # Payee Amount B-234959 Lisa Floramo $ 254.00 B-234975 Sharon McCullock$ 237.79 B-235038 Frances James $2.

B-234959, B-235038, B-234975, B-234941, May 8, 1989, Off. of Gen. Counsel

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Accountable Officers - Disbursing officers - Liability restrictions - Statutes of limitation DIGEST: Since four requests for relief of the Treasury disbursing officer were received more than three years after the losses resulting from the negotiation of both the original and a replacement check, this office is unable to grant relief. The accountable officer has no personal liability since the applicable accounts had been settled by operation of law. 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, September 15, 1982.

Mr. Gerald Murphy

Fiscal Assistant Secretary

Department of the Treasury:

This is in response to four of your recent letters requesting relief, under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c), of Beverly Robinson, an accountable officer, for overpayments. In each of the four cases, Ms. Robinson's account has been settled by operation of law. As a result she has no personal financial liability for the losses in question.

You have requested relief for the following losses:

GAO File # Payee Amount

B-234959 Lisa Floramo $ 254.00

B-234975 Sharon McCullock$ 237.79

B-235038 Frances James $2,766.00

B-234941 Michael Marshall $ 393.93

Under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3526(c), an accountable officer's account is settled by operation of law three years after it is received by the Comptroller General. We consider the Comptroller General to have received the account when an accountable officer certifies and files his or her periodic statement of accountability. See generally B-199542, November 7, 1980; B-198451.2, September 15, 1982. This period is extended in cases involving the negotiation of both the original and replacement or substitute checks, the kind of losses involved in your requests. In these cases the three years begins from the period of accountability when the loss becomes known after both checks have been cashed. 62 Comp.Gen. 91 (1983). In each of the four requests, it is clear from the date the Department of Treasury began collection action that the loss was recognized in 1985. Accordingly, the period for settlement has passed. Under such circumstances an accountable officer cannot be held personally responsible for a 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.