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ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS - RELIEF - DUPLICATE CHECKS ISSUED - IMPROPER PAYMENT DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY DISBURSING OFFICIAL AND HIS SUPERVISOR UNDER 31 U.S.C. 3527(C) FROM LIABILITY FOR IMPROPER PAYMENT RESULTING FROM PAYEE'S NEGOTIATION OF BOTH ORIGINAL AND SUBSTITUTE MILITARY CHECKS. PROPER PROCEDURES WERE FOLLOWED IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK. THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF BAD FAITH ON THE PART OF THE DISBURSING OFFICIAL AND HIS SUPERIOR. SUBSEQUENT COLLECTION ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN PURSUED. RELIEF IS GRANTED. BOTH CHECKS WERE IN THE SAME AMOUNT. THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK WAS ISSUED ON THE BASIS OF THE PAYEE'S ALLEGATION THAT THE ORIGINAL CHECK HAD NOT BEEN RECEIVED AND A REQUEST FOR STOP PAYMENT HAD BEEN MADE.

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B-218939, JUN 17, 1985, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS - RELIEF - DUPLICATE CHECKS ISSUED - IMPROPER PAYMENT DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY DISBURSING OFFICIAL AND HIS SUPERVISOR UNDER 31 U.S.C. 3527(C) FROM LIABILITY FOR IMPROPER PAYMENT RESULTING FROM PAYEE'S NEGOTIATION OF BOTH ORIGINAL AND SUBSTITUTE MILITARY CHECKS. PROPER PROCEDURES WERE FOLLOWED IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK, THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF BAD FAITH ON THE PART OF THE DISBURSING OFFICIAL AND HIS SUPERIOR, AND SUBSEQUENT COLLECTION ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN PURSUED. SUBSTITUTE CHECK ISSUED WITH SAME DATE AS ORIGINAL RATHER THAN ACTUAL DATE OF ISSUANCE APPEARS CONTRARY TO ARMY REGULATIONS, BUT DID NOT CONTRIBUTE TO LOSS.

MR. CLYDE E. JEFFCOAT: PRINCIPAL DEPUTY COMMANDER U.S. ARMY FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING CENTER INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA 46249

THIS RESPONSE TO YOUR REQUEST THAT WE RELIEVE MAJOR M. H. FLEUMER, FINANCE CORPS, FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER, PRESIDIO OF SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA AND HIS DEPUTY MS. E. BACA UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(C) FOR AN IMPROPER PAYMENT OF A $395.22 CHECK PAYABLE TO MS. RUBY H. TALLEY. FOR THE REASONS STATED BELOW, RELIEF IS GRANTED.

THE LOSS RESULTED WHEN THE PAYEE NEGOTIATED BOTH THE ORIGINAL AND A SUBSTITUTE CHECK. BOTH CHECKS WERE IN THE SAME AMOUNT. THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK WAS ISSUED ON THE BASIS OF THE PAYEE'S ALLEGATION THAT THE ORIGINAL CHECK HAD NOT BEEN RECEIVED AND A REQUEST FOR STOP PAYMENT HAD BEEN MADE. BOTH CHECKS WERE ISSUED BY THE ARMY UNDER AUTHORITY DELEGATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. 31 C.F.R. SEC. 245.8. WE NOTE THAT IN THIS CASE BOTH THE ORIGINAL AND THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK BEAR THE SAME DATES EVEN THOUGH THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK WAS ACTUALLY ISSUED SEVEN DAYS AFTER THE FIRST. THIS APPEARS TO BE CONTRARY TO ARMY REGULATIONS WHICH REQUIRE THE SUBSTITUTE CHECKS TO BE DATED ON THE DATE IT IS ISSUED. SEE AR 37-103 PARA. 4-165. THE DATE ON THE SECOND CHECK, HOWEVER, DID NOT CONTRIBUTE TO THE LOSS IN THIS CASE.

THIS OFFICE HAS AUTHORITY UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(C) TO RELIEVE A DISBURSING OFFICER FROM LIABILITY WHEN THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE DISBURSING OFFICER ACTED WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF DUE CARE AS ESTABLISHED BY APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF BAD FAITH ON THE PART OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER AND THAT A DILIGENT EFFORT WAS MADE TO COLLECT THE OVERPAYMENT. 62 COMP.GEN 91 (1982).

THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK HERE WAS SIGNED BY THE FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER'S DEPUTY WHICH REQUIRES THAT WE RELIEVE THE FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER IN HIS SUPERVISORY CAPACITY AS WELL AS THE DEPUTY DISBURSING OFFICER. WE HAVE CONCLUDED THAT WHERE A SUBSTITUTE CHECK IS PROPERLY ISSUED THE SUPERVISOR IS NO MORE NEGLIGENT THAN THE DEPUTY WHO ACTUALLY SIGNED THE CHECK, B-212576, ET AL. DECEMBER 2, 1983.

IT APPEARS THAT THE REQUEST FOR STOP PAYMENT AND THE ISSUANCE OF A SUBSTITUTE CHECK IN THIS CASE WERE WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF DUE CARE AS ESTABLISHED BY ARMY REGULATIONS. SEE AR 37-103, PARAS., 4-161, 4-162 AND 4-164. THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF BAD FAITH ON THE PART OF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS AND ADEQUATE COLLECTION EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE. ACCORDINGLY, WE GRANT RELIEF.

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