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18 U.S. Code § 290 - Discharge papers withheld by claim agent

Whoever, being a claim agent, attorney, or other person engaged in the collection of claims for pay, pension, or other allowances for any soldier, sailor, or marine, or for any commissioned officer of the military or naval forces, or for any person who may have been a soldier, sailor, marine, or officer of the regular or volunteer forces of the United States, or for his dependents or beneficiaries, retains, without the consent of the owner or owners thereof, or refuses to deliver or account for the same upon demand duly made by the owner or owners thereof, or by their agent or attorney, the discharge papers of any such soldier, sailor, or marine, or commissioned officer, which may have been placed in his hands for the purpose of collecting said claims, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both; and shall be debarred from prosecuting any such claim in any department or agency of the United States.

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on section 100 of title 31, Money and Finance, section 130 of title 38, Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans’ Relief, and section 841 of title 43, Public Lands, all U.S.C., 1940 ed. (May 21, 1872, ch. 178, 17 Stat. 137).

Words “deemed guilty of a misdemeanor” were deleted as unnecessary. (See definition of “misdemeanor” in section 1 of this title.)

Words “and shall upon conviction, be” were omitted as surplusage since punishment can follow only after conviction.

To clarify meaning of “executive department” word “executive” before “department” was deleted and words “or agency” were inserted after it. (See definitions of “department” and “agency” in section 6 of this title.)

Words “bounty”, before “pension”, and “or land warrant”, before “of any such soldier”, were deleted as obsolete. According to regulations, Circular 1151, January 8, 1929, issued by the Secretary of the Interior and the General Land Office (see 43 CFR 131.1–131.2) “warrants for bounty lands were and are issued by the Commissioner of Pensions (Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs) for services in wars or battles prior to March 3, 1855 only.” Further, it is stated that “Warrants can not now be ‘located’ upon the public lands. The locating privilege was denied except in the state of Missouri after the passage of the act of March 2, 1889 (25 Stat. 854; 43 U.S.C. § 700), and there are no lands known to the General Land Office to be subject to warrant location in Missouri.”

Words “and honorably discharged” were omitted as unnecessary and words “or for his dependents or beneficiaries” were inserted after “United States” so as to embrace an important class of persons who employ attorneys or agents in the collection of claims permitted by statute.

Minor changes of phraseology were also made.

Editorial Notes

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $500”.