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DISBURSING OFFICERS - RELIEF - ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS - NOT RESULT OF BAD FAITH OR NEGLIGENCE DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY DISBURSING OFFICIAL UNDER 31 U.S.C. 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 SUBSEQUENT COLLECTION ATTEMPTS ARE BEING PURSUED. WE WILL DENY RELIEF IF ARMY DELAYS MORE THAN 3 MONTHS IN FORWARDING THE DEBT TO ITS COLLECTION DIVISION. 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. BOTH CHECKS WERE ISSUED BY THE ARMY UNDER AUTHORITY DELEGATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. 31 C.F.R.

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B-220846, SEP 23, 1986

DISBURSING OFFICERS - RELIEF - ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS - NOT RESULT OF BAD FAITH OR NEGLIGENCE DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY DISBURSING OFFICIAL UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 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 SUBSEQUENT COLLECTION ATTEMPTS ARE BEING PURSUED. HOWEVER, FOR LOSSES RECORDED AFTER JUNE 1, 1986, WE WILL DENY RELIEF IF ARMY DELAYS MORE THAN 3 MONTHS IN FORWARDING THE DEBT TO ITS COLLECTION DIVISION. WE, ALSO, RECOMMEND THAT ARMY DEVELOP GUIDELINES TO DEAL WITH PAYEES WHO MAKE MULTIPLE CLAIMS OF NON-RECEIPT OF PAY CHECKS WITHIN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

MR. CLYDE E. JEFFCOAT:

PRINCIPAL DEPUTY COMMANDER

U.S. ARMY FINANCE AND

ACCOUNTING CENTER

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA 46249

THIS RESPONDS TO YOUR REQUEST OF MAY 13, 1986, THAT WE RELIEVE LIEUTENANT COLONEL (LTC) T. F. CONRAD, DSSN 5062, FIANANCE CORPS, FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER, FORT MEADE, MARYLAND, UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(C) FOR AN IMPROPER PAYMENT OF A $2,133.33 CHECK PAYABLE TO MR. EARL L. JACKSON. 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.

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 OFFICER AND IT APPEARS THAT ADEQUATE COLLECTION EFFORTS ARE NOW BEING MADE. ACCORDINGLY, WE GRANT RELIEF.

ALTHOUGH WE HAVE GRANTED RELIEF TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE ARMY'S COLLECTION PROCEDURES, TAKEN TOGETHER, MEET THE DILIGENT CLAIMS COLLECTION REQUIREMENT OF 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(C). ONCE THE DEBIT VOUCHER WAS RECEIVED FROM TREASURY, IT TOOK ARMY OVER 7 MONTHS TO REFER THE MATTER TO YOUR COLLECTION DIVISION. AS WE PREVIOUSLY INDICATED TO YOU, FOR LOSSES RECORDED AFTER JUNE 1, 1986, WHERE THE PAYEE HAS LEFT THE ARMY OR ITS EMPLOY, WE WILL NO LONGER GRANT RELIEF IF ARMY DELAYS MORE THAN 3 MONTHS IN FORWARDING THE DEBT TO YOUR COLLECTION DIVISION. HOWEVER, SINCE THIS CASE OCCURRED PRIOR TO THAT DATE, WE WILL NOT DENY RELIEF HERE.

FINALLY, A REVIEW OF OUR RECORDS INDICATES THAT WE HAVE PREVIOUSLY RELIEVED LTC CONRAD FOR ANOTHER DUPLICATE CHECK PAYMENT TO MR. JACKSON. B-220846, DECEMBER 16, 1985. IT APPEARS THAT WITHIN 4 MONTHS, MR. JACKSON REQUESTED AND RECEIVED TWO DUPLICATE PAYMENTS, THE LAST ONE FOR HIS FINAL PAY CHECK, TOTALLING $3,591.20. AS RECENTLY STATED IN B-220500, SEPTEMBER 12, 1986, WE THINK THAT ARMY SHOULD DEVELOP GUIDELINES TO DEAL WITH PAYEES WHO MAKE MULTIPLE CLAIMS OF NON RECEIPT OF PAY CHECKS WITHIN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. SPECIFICALLY, WE RECOMMENDED THAT WHEN A PAYEE CLAIMED NON-RECEIPT OF HIS FINAL PAY CHECK AND WITHIN THE PRIOR 6 MONTHS HAD MADE A SIMILAR CLAIM, AS WAS THE CASE HERE, THAT THE FINANCE OFFICER DELAY ISSUING THE SUBSTITUTE CHECK FOR THE FINAL PAYMENT UNTIL HE HAS VERIFIED WITH TREASURY THE STATUS OF THE OTHER INSTRUMENTS. IN ADDITION, WE SUGGESTED THAT THE FINANCE OFFICER INCLUDE IN THE SUBMISSION TO USAFAC ALL REQUESTS FOR STOP PAYMENT MADE BY THE PAYEE.

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