B-38549, DECEMBER 11, 1943, 23 COMP. GEN. 423

B-38549: Dec 11, 1943

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

BONDS - INDEMNITY - ISSUANCE OF DUPLICATE CHECK WHEN ORIGINAL IS LOST. CHECKS ISSUED BY DISBURSING OFFICERS WHO SINCE HAVE DIED OR ARE NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE. AS FOLLOWS: THERE ARE ENCLOSED FOR CONSIDERATION AFFIDAVIT FORMS 2244-B EXECUTED BY MRS. PARAGRAPH 4 OF DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR NO. 327 ( REVISED) STATES THAT " IN CASE THE OFFICER OR AGENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS DEAD OR NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES. - IN CASE OF THE LOSS OF A CHECK ISSUED BY AN OFFICER OR AGENT OTHER THAN THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY WHO IS DEAD OR NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES. WHO WILL REFER THEM TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR EXAMINATION AND THE STATEMENT OF AN ACCOUNT IN FAVOR OF THE OWNER OF SAID CHECK.

B-38549, DECEMBER 11, 1943, 23 COMP. GEN. 423

BONDS - INDEMNITY - ISSUANCE OF DUPLICATE CHECK WHEN ORIGINAL IS LOST, STOLEN, ETC. SECTION 3646, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, TO WAIVE THE REQUIREMENT OF FURNISHING A BOND OF INDEMNITY TO OBTAIN THE ISSUANCE BY A DISBURSING OFFICER OF A DUPLICATE OF AN ORIGINAL CHECK LOST, STOLEN, DESTROYED, ETC., DID NOT AMEND OR REPEAL SECTION 3647, REVISED STATUTES, OR CONFER AUTHORITY UPON THIS OFFICE--- SUCH AS THAT CONFERRED UPON THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY BY SECTION 3646--- TO WAIVE THE REQUIREMENT OF SUCH BOND IN CASES COMING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SAID SECTION 3647, WHICH AUTHORIZES THIS OFFICE TO ISSUE SETTLEMENTS INVOLVING LOST, ETC., CHECKS ISSUED BY DISBURSING OFFICERS WHO SINCE HAVE DIED OR ARE NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, DECEMBER 11, 1943:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 23, 1943 (TE-8A), FROM THE ACTING CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE ARE ENCLOSED FOR CONSIDERATION AFFIDAVIT FORMS 2244-B EXECUTED BY MRS. MARK S. SMITH TO COVER CHECK NO. 1,369,123, DATED APRIL 15, 1943, FOR $24.00, SYMBOL 200-982, ISSUED IN HER FAVOR BY COLONEL C. R. MIZE, FINANCE OFFICER, U.S. ARMY, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, AND MABEL V. FERNANDES TO COVER CHECK NO. 5,355,464, DATED JULY 31, 1943, FOR $62.00, SYMBOL 53-063, ISSUED IN HER FAVOR BY LIEUTENANT COLONEL M. A. WILLARD, MARINE CORPS ALLOTMENT OFFICER, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.

THE RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT SHOW THAT COLONEL MIZE DIED JUNE 2, 1943, AND THAT LIEUTENANT COLONEL WILLARD RETIRED OCTOBER 11, 1943. PARAGRAPH 4 OF DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR NO. 327 ( REVISED) STATES THAT " IN CASE THE OFFICER OR AGENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS DEAD OR NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES.--- IN CASE OF THE LOSS OF A CHECK ISSUED BY AN OFFICER OR AGENT OTHER THAN THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY WHO IS DEAD OR NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE AFFIDAVIT AND BOND REQUIRED TO BE FURNISHED BY THE OWNER OF SAID CHECK TO AN OFFICER OR AGENT IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF A DUPLICATE CHECK, SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, WHO WILL REFER THEM TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR EXAMINATION AND THE STATEMENT OF AN ACCOUNT IN FAVOR OF THE OWNER OF SAID CHECK, AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 3647 OF THE REVISED STATUTES OF 1873, AS AMENDED, AND SECTION 307 OF THE ACT APPROVED JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 25 ( U.S.C. TITLE 31, SEC. 47).'

THERE ARE NOW PENDING IN THIS OFFICE NUMEROUS CLAIMS FROM MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS UPON WHICH DUPLICATE CHECKS COULD BE APPROVED BY EXECUTION OF FORM 2244-B IF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS WERE AVAILABLE TO SIGN THE DUPLICATE CHECKS.

AS IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE REQUIREMENT OF THE EXECUTION OF BONDS OF INDEMNITY IN THESE CASES WHERE THE CHECKS HAVE NEVER BEEN RECEIVED BY THE PAYEES WILL WORK AN UNDUE HARDSHIP UPON THEM, IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED IF CONSIDERATION IS GIVEN BY YOUR OFFICE TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATIONS IN THIS TYPE OF CASE.

IN VIEW OF THE LARGE NUMBER OF PENDING CASES, IT WILL BE APPRECIATED IF A DECISION MAY BE RENDERED BY YOUR OFFICE AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE.

WHILE IT IS STATED THAT NUMEROUS CLAIMS FROM MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS ARE NOW PENDING, IT IS NOTED THAT EACH OF THE TWO CHECKS SPECIFICALLY REFERRED TO IN THE SUBMISSION IS PAYABLE TO A WOMAN WITH NOTHING TO INDICATE THAT EITHER OF SAID PAYEES IS OR WAS IN THE ARMED FORCES. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS INTENDED TO EMBRACE ALL CLAIMS FOR LOST CURRENT CHECKS ISSUED BY A DISBURSING OFFICER WHO SINCE HAS DIED, OR NO LONGER IS IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE REFERRED-TO FORM 2244-B---" APPLICATION AND AFFIDAVIT TO OBTAIN THE ISSUANCE OF A DUPLICATE CHECK WITHOUT THE EXECUTION OF A BOND OF INDEMNITY ---" WAS PRESCRIBED BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3646, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9 OF THE GOVERNMENT LOSSES IN SHIPMENT ACT, APPROVED JULY 8, 1937, 50 STAT. 479, 482, 483 ( 31 U.S.C. 528), WHICH ARE, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

(A) EXCEPT AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED, WHENEVER IT IS CLEARLY PROVED TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY THAT ANY ORIGINAL CHECK OF THE UNITED STATES IS LOST, STOLEN, OR WHOLLY OR PARTLY DESTROYED, OR IS SO MUTILATED OR DEFACED AS TO IMPAIR ITS VALUE TO ITS OWNER OR HOLDER, PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE SUCH CHECKS ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES ARE AUTHORIZED, BEFORE THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR FOLLOWING THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE ORIGINAL CHECK WAS ISSUED, TO ISSUE TO THE OWNER OR HOLDER THEREOF A SUBSTITUTE MARKED "DUPLICATE" AND SHOWING THE NUMBER, DATE, AND PAYEE OF THE ORIGINAL CHECK, UPON THE RECEIPT AND APPROVAL BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY OF A BOND, TO INDEMNIFY THE UNITED STATES, IN SUCH FORM AND AMOUNT AND WITH SUCH SURETY, SURETIES, OR SECURITY AS THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY SHALL REQUIRE; BUT NO SUCH SUBSTITUTE SHALL BE PAYABLE IF THE ORIGINAL CHECK SHALL FIRST HAVE BEEN PAID; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE AUTHORITY HEREIN CONFERRED TO ISSUE SUBSTITUTE CHECKS MAY, IN THE CASE OF CHECKS ISSUED ON ACCOUNT OF PUBLIC/DEBT OBLIGATIONS AND TRANSACTIONS REGARDING THE ADMINISTRATION OF BANKING AND CURRENCY LAWS, BE ISSUED WITHOUT LIMITATION OF TIME.

(B) A BOND OF INDEMNITY SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED UNDER SUBSECTION (A) OF THIS SECTION IN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING CLASSES OF CASES EXCEPT AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED: (1) IF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS SATISFIED THAT THE LOSS, THEFT, DESTRUCTION, MUTILATION, OR DEFACEMENT, AS THE CASE MAY BE, OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OF THE OWNER OR HOLDER AND WHILE THE CHECK WAS IN THE CUSTODY OR CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES (NOT INCLUDING THE POSTAL SERVICE WHEN ACTING SOLELY IN ITS CAPACITY AS THE PUBLIC CARRIER OF THE MAILS), OR OF A PERSON THEREUNTO DULY AUTHORIZED AS LAWFUL AGENT OF THE UNITED STATES, OR WHILE IT WAS IN THE COURSE OF SHIPMENT EFFECTED PURSUANT TO AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS ISSUED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT LOSSES IN SHIPMENT ACT; (2) IF SUBSTANTIALLY THE ENTIRE CHECK IS PRESENTED AND SURRENDERED BY THE OWNER OR HOLDER AND THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS SATISFIED AS TO THE IDENTITY OF THE CHECK PRESENTED AND THAT ANY MISSING PORTIONS ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO FORM THE BASIS OF A VALID CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES; (3) IF THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK IS LESS THAN $50 AND THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS SATISFIED THAT THE GIVING OF A BOND OF INDEMNITY WOULD BE AN UNDUE HARDSHIP TO THE OWNER OR HOLDER; (5) IF THE OWNER OR HOLDER IS A STATE OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF, A CORPORATION THE WHOLE OF WHOSE CAPITAL IS OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES, A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT, OR A FEDERAL RESERVE BANK: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT IN ANY OF THE FOREGOING CLASSES OF CASES THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY MAY REQUIRE A BOND OF INDEMNITY IF HE DEEMS IT ESSENTIAL TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

SECTION 3647, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 119, PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

WHENEVER THE DISBURSING OFFICER OR AGENT BY WHOM WAS ISSUED ANY ORIGINAL CHECK WHICH HAS BEEN LOST, DESTROYED, OR STOLEN, IS DEAD, OR NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SHALL STATE AN ACCOUNT IN FAVOR OF THE OWNER OF SUCH ORIGINAL CHECK FOR THE AMOUNT THEREOF, AND CHARGE SUCH AMOUNT TO THE ACCOUNT OF SUCH OFFICER OR AGENT. * * *

SECTIONS 3646 AND 3647 OF THE REVISED STATUTES ARE DERIVED FROM SECTIONS 1 AND 2, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1872, 17 STAT. 29, ENTITLED " AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF DUPLICATE CHECKS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS. SECTION 1 OF SAID ACT PROVIDED FOR THE ISSUANCE BY DISBURSING OFFICERS OF DUPLICATES OF ORIGINAL CHECKS, WHEN LOST, STOLEN, OR DESTROYED, UPON THE EXECUTION OF BOND OF INDEMNITY, AND SECTION 2 OF THE ACT PROVIDED FOR A STATEMENT OF AN ACCOUNT BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN FAVOR OF THE OWNER OF "SUCH ORIGINAL CHECK," IN CASE THE DISBURSING OFFICER WHO ISSUED THE ORIGINAL CHECK BE DEAD OR NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES.

PRIOR TO THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1937, BONDS OF INDEMNITY WERE REQUIRED IN ALL CASES COVERED BY SECTIONS 3646 AND 3647, SUPRA, AND WHILE SAID ACT, AMENDING SECTION 3646, SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO DISPENSE WITH THE FURNISHING OF BONDS OF INDEMNITY UNDER THE CONDITIONS THEREIN SPECIFIED, IT DID NOT AMEND OR REPEAL SECTION 3647 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, OR CONFER AUTHORITY UPON THIS OFFICE TO WAIVE THE REQUIREMENT OF A BOND OF INDEMNITY IN CASES COMING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SAID SECTION 3647. MOREOVER, A BOND OF INDEMNITY STILL IS REQUIRED GENERALLY UNDER SECTION 3646 OF THE REVISED STATUTES AND MAY BE DISPENSED WITH ONLY IF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS SATISFIED THAT IN CERTAIN CASES A BOND OF INDEMNITY IS NOT ESSENTIAL TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST. HOWEVER, CASES ARISING UNDER SECTION 3647 ARE FOR SETTLEMENT BY THIS OFFICE AND NO DETERMINATION IN RESPECT THEREOF IS REQUIRED TO BE MADE BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY. NOR HAS THIS OFFICE BEEN AUTHORIZED TO MAKE EXCEPTIONS SIMILAR TO THOSE AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AS TO CASES COMING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 3646.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT BONDS OF INDEMNITY AS NOW REQUIRED BY LAW MAY NOT BE DISPENSED WITH BY THIS OFFICE IN CONSIDERING CASES COVERED BY SECTION 3647 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED.

THE AFFIDAVIT FORMS, TRANSMITTED WITH THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 23, 1943, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.