[Appeal of Claims Group Settlement Disallowing Actual Subsistence Expenses Claimed]

B-217689: Aug 22, 1985

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An employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) appealed a claims settlement that disallowed actual subsistence expenses incurred while on temporary duty. The settlement was based on an FAA determination that the claim was of doubtful validity. FAA had determined that the claimant: (1) filed fraudulent claims for motel expenses and private lodgings; and (2) fraudulently claimed meal expenses for 5 or more nonworkdays during return trips to his official duty station. However, FAA withdrew the allegation of fraudulent intent and suspended the claimant for submitting false receipts. The claimant contended that: (1) since FAA withdrew the allegation of fraudulent intent, GAO should allow the claim; or (2) alternatively, FAA had not established that he fraudulently claimed the expenses. GAO held that: (1) the FAA investigation did not clearly establish fraudulent intent; (2) the claimant could be paid subsistence expenses for those days for which he submitted motel receipts; (3) since the claim for private lodging expenses was of doubtful validity, he could not be paid subsistence expenses for the period during which he resided in the private lodgings; and (4) if the agency could establish that the claimant travelled on any of the 4 days for which subsistence expenses could be paid, the claims for meal costs on those days could be disallowed. Accordingly, the claim was allowed in part and denied in part.