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UNITED STATES V. CARTER, 217 U. S. 286 (1910)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Carter, 217 U.S. 286 (1910)

United States v. Carter

Nos. 551, 552

No. 10, Original

Argued January 13, 14, 1910

Decided April 1, 1910

217 U.S. 286


Where both the courts below have concurred upon material facts, the burden rests on the appellant to satisfy this Court that such conclusions are erroneous.

Where both courts below have found on conceded facts the appellant accountable for illicit gains, the burden rests on him to satisfy the courts that such conclusion is erroneous as matter of law.

A public official may not retain any profit or advantage realized through an interest in conflict with his fidelity as an agent.

Where an officer of the United States secretly receives a part of the profits gained by others in the execution of contracts with the government over which he has control, the United States is entitled to a decree in equity for the amount so received, and this, even if the government cannot prove fraud or abuse of discretion on the part of such officer or that it has suffered actual loss.

In determining whether an officer of the government has been guilty of fraud in connection with contracts under his control, abnormal profits arouse suspicion and demand clear explanation.

The receipt in any manner as a gratuity or otherwise by an officer of the United States of a share of profits on government contracts under his control through a third party is the same, as to his liability to account therefor, as though he received such share direct from the contractor.

Page 217 U. S. 287

The fact that a close friend of the accused, having intimate relations with him in connection with the matter in suit, and whose testimony would benefit him if statements made by accused in regard to their relations are true, does not voluntarily appear in any of several proceedings, but sees the accused convicted, justifies a presumption that his testimony would not have borne out the defense.

When an officer of the United States has received a share of profits from contracts under his control, the government is not limited, in a suit to recover the same and in which it has impounded securities, to the traced securities; the officer must account for all his gains and, under a prayer for other and general relief, the government is entitled to a judgment for money had and received to its use, and may enforce it against any property of the defendant including property in the hands of third parties with notice of how it was obtained.

The government in a suit to recover illicit gains is justified in agreeing to allow the payment of certain expenses connected with the litigation and to determine title of securities which have been impounded by it with difficulty, and in regard to which there are conflicting claims, in consideration of the surrender of the securities to abide the decision of the court in the case.

Where two courts in succession have concurred in finding that counsel fees are reasonable as allowed, this Court does not feel authorized to disturb the finding.

An agreement on the part of one holding securities in trust to turn over all that have not been disposed of bona fide is not necessarily broken by a failure to turn over some that are held under claim that they were retained for services and disbursements properly earned and incurred, even if the claim cannot be sustained, if it is made in good faith and the question submitted to the court.

Where a stipulation for surrender of securities in suit is made by the government and other parties, even though the government may make what appears to be a bad bargain, the stipulation must be observed if it is actually a contract.

172 F. 1 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 217 U. S. 297

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