B-249027, November 5, 1992

B-249027: Nov 5, 1992

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Travel Travel Expenses Documentation procedures Burden of proof The claim of a member to retain reimbursement for temporary travel for which he submitted false and fraudulent travel vouchers is denied because he has not met his burden of documenting the trips in detail and establishing that they were essential to the transaction of official business. MN 55754 Dear Sergeant Krampotich: This is in response to your appeal of Claims Group settlement Z-2861532. That settlement is affirmed. Since the burden is on the claimant to prove the liability of the government. Irreconcilable disputes of fact between the agency and the claimant are settled in favor of the agency. That burden is met by documenting the travel in detail and establishing that it was essential for the transaction of official business.

B-249027, November 5, 1992

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Travel Travel Expenses Documentation procedures Burden of proof The claim of a member to retain reimbursement for temporary travel for which he submitted false and fraudulent travel vouchers is denied because he has not met his burden of documenting the trips in detail and establishing that they were essential to the transaction of official business.

Staff Sergeant Eugene K. Krampotich, USAF (Retired) c/o 208 Itasca Avenue Kelly Lake, MN 55754

Dear Sergeant Krampotich:

This is in response to your appeal of Claims Group settlement Z-2861532, dated September 1, 1989, which denied your claim to retain the reimbursement you received for temporary duty (TDY) travel. That settlement is affirmed.

You acknowledge that you submitted inaccurate and inflated travel vouchers for TDY assignments to various locations in Spain and France between September 1985 and August 1987. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations submitted a report which the Defense Finance and Accounting Service used to determine the amount you must repay on account of those vouchers. The Claims Group accepted their recommendations on the amount of your debt. In particular, your appeal concerns several trips you say you made to Madrid on official business during the period in question.

This Office settles claims on the basis of the written record submitted by the government agency or department involved and the evidence submitted by the claimant. Since the burden is on the claimant to prove the liability of the government, irreconcilable disputes of fact between the agency and the claimant are settled in favor of the agency. Joseph J. Kisiolek, B-190070, Dec. 16, 1977.

A member seeking to retain the reimbursement he received for TDY travel has the burden of establishing the liability of the government to pay for that travel. That burden is met by documenting the travel in detail and establishing that it was essential for the transaction of official business. Bertram C. Drouin, B-216016, March 23, 1987. You have not met that burden. The June 1991 letter from your former supervisor, Mr Ludwig Kolb, a copy for which we received from you, does not materially add to the evidence in this case. We note that his letter does not go significantly beyond his statement to Air Force investigators, already taken into account in seeking to resolve this case.

Upon review of the record, we find no error of law or fact in the Claims Group's determination, which is therefore affirmed.

Sincerely yours,

James F. Hinchman General Counsel

To:Director, Claims Group/GGD--Sharon S. Green

From:James F. Hinchman, General Counsel

Subject:Staff Sergeant Eugene K. Krampotich, USAF (Retired)--Claim to retain reimbursement of travel expenses--Z-2861532 (B-249027)

Enclosed is your file Z-2861532 along with a copy of our letter to Staff Sergeant Eugene K. Krampotich, USAF (Retired), of today's date, in which we affirm your determination that his debt is valid.

Attachment File B-249027--Staff Sergeant Eugene K. Krampotich, USAF (Retired)

Facts:

This is in response to a an appeal of a Claims Group settlement which denied the claim of Staff Sergeant Eugene K. Krampotich, USAF (Retired), to retain the reimbursement he received for temporary duty (TDY) travel.

While stationed in Spain, Sergeant Krampotich made trips to various locations in Spain and France for which he received reimbursement as TDY travel. He later admitted that he submitted fraudulent travel vouchers for at least some of these trips because he was unable to meet with the person he had travelled to meet or because he lengthened some trips by including days which should have been counted as leave. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations conducted an investigation of Sergeant Krampotich's travel vouchers to determine the amount of the government's claim against him.

The Claims Group accepted the Air Force's recommendation as to the amount of his debt. Staff Sergeant Krampotich has appealed their determination, particularly with regard to several alleged trips to Madrid, which he claims were for official business. He has submitted a letter from his former supervisor, Mr. Kolb, which he says substantiates his claim.

Law:

1) The Joint Federal Travel Regulations, volume 1, paragraph U2505 provides for denial of payment to a member who has falsely claimed travel expenses. If payment has been made before the falsification is discovered, the member will be required to reimburse the government. The regulation states that investigation, processing, and final settlement will be in accord with the regulations of the service concerned.

2) When there is an irreconcilable dispute of fact between a government agency or department, this Office resolves the dispute in favor of the government. Joseph J. Kisiolek, B-190070, Dec. 16, 1977.

3) An employee who is reimbursed for travel but later cannot substantiate the purpose of each trip cannot retain the money because he has not met his burden of proving that the expenses were essential to the transaction of official business. Bertram C. Drouin, B-216016, March 23, 1987.

Findings:

To rebut the Claims Group's settlement, Sergeant Krampotich asserts his own claim that his trips to Madrid were essential to the conduct of official business. He also submits a letter from his former supervisor which appears to support his position but is written in such qualified language that in terms of verifiable fact it differs very little from his statement to Air Force investigators. In view of the Air Force report to the contrary, Sergeant Krampotich has not met his burden of proof that the trips in question were properly documented and essential to the conduct of official business.

Conclusion:

Sergeant Krampotich's claim is denied, and the Claims Group's settlement is affirmed.

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