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DISBURSING OFFICERS - RELIEF - ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS - NOT RESULT OF BAD FAITH OR NEGLIGENCE DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY DISBURSING OFFICIAL AND HIS DEPUTY 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 HIS DEPUTY. 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.

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B-222875, MAY 6, 1986

DISBURSING OFFICERS - RELIEF - ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS - NOT RESULT OF BAD FAITH OR NEGLIGENCE DIGEST: RELIEF IS GRANTED ARMY DISBURSING OFFICIAL AND HIS DEPUTY 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 HIS DEPUTY, SUBSEQUENT COLLECTION ATTEMPTS ARE BEING PURSUED. HOWEVER, FOR DEBIT VOUCHERS DATED AFTER JUNE 1, 1986, WE WILL DENY RELIEF IF ARMY DELAYS MORE THAN 3 MONTHS IN FORWARDING THE DEBT TO ITS COLLECTION DIVISION.

MR. CLYDE E. JEFFCOAT:

PRINCIPAL DEPUTY COMMANDER

U.S. ARMY FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING CENTER

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA 46429

THIS RESPONDS TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1986, THAT WE RELIEVE LIEUTENANT COLONEL (LTC) G. L. COMFORT, FINANCE CORPS, FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER, I CORPS AND FORT LEWIS, FORT LEWIS WASHINGTON, AND HIS DEPUTY, FIRST LIEUTENANT (1LT) LYNN N. STOUT, UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(C) FOR AN IMPROPER PAYMENT OF $395.94 CHECK PAYABLE TO MS. PAMELA J. DYKSTRA. 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 PARTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS AND IT APPEARS THAT ADEQUATE COLLECTION EFFORTS ARE NOW BEING MADE. ACCORDINGLY, WE GRANT RELIEF.

WHILE WE HAVE GRANTED RELIEF TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER AND HIS DEPUTY, WE DO NOT THINK THAT THE ARMY'S COLLECTION EFFORTS IN THIS CASE MEET THE DILIGENT CLAIMS COLLECTION REQUIREMENT OF 31 U.S.C. SEC. 3527(C). APPEARS FROM YOUR SUBMISSION, THAT IN OCTOBER 1983, THE PAYEE HAD INFORMED THE FINANCE OFFICE THAT SHE HAD INADVERTENTLY NEGOTIATED BOTH AN ORIGINAL AND SUBSTITUTE CHECK. THIS DEBT WAS COLLECTED IN JANUARY 1984. HOWEVER, DURING THE SAME TIMEFRAME, THE PAYEE WAS ALSO INVOLVED IN A SEPARATE DUPLICATE PAYMENT SITUATION THAT DID NOT COME TO THE ATTENTION OF THE FINANCE OFFICER, LTC R. L. GRIFFIN, III, THE SUCCESSOR TO THE ACCOUNT, UNTIL THE DEBIT VOUCHER WAS RECEIVED FROM TREASURY. ALTHOUGH, THE DEBIT VOUCHER WAS DATED MARCH 28, 1984, IT WAS NOT RECEIVED IN THE FINANCE OFFICE UNTIL JUNE 12, 1984, 11 DAYS AFTER THE PAYEE HAD RESIGNED. FOR SOME REASON, AFTER RECEIVING THE TREASURY NOTICE, LTC GRIFFIN WAITED ALMOST A YEAR BEFORE HE REQUESTED THAT A SF 2805 (REQUEST FOR RECOVERY OF DEBT DUE THE UNITED STATES) BE SUBMITTED TO THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT TO PUT A HOLD ON ANY RETIREMENT MONIES DUE THE PAYEE. HOWEVER, BY THAT TIME ALL RETIREMENT MONIES DUE MS. DYKSTRA HAD BEEN WITHDRAWN. TOTAL, IT TOOK LTC GRIFFIN ALMOST 17 MONTHS TO REFER THE MATTER TO USAFAC ONCE THE DEBIT VOUCHER WAS RECEIVED. IT WAS ANOTHER 5 MONTHS UNTIL THE DEBT WAS FINALLY SENT TO YOUR COLLECTION DIVISION. AS WE PREVIOUSLY INDICATED TO YOU, 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.

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