Throughout the State, millions of dollars are lost every year to business owners as a result of worthless checks that are passed to local businesses and citizens. The Office of the State Attorney is combating this problem with our Worthless Check Diversion program that assists local businesses and citizens with worthless check losses. The goal of this program is to obtain full restitution for the victim without adding to the already overburdened criminal justice system.
What should I do when I receive a worthless check?
• Make personal contact with the check writer. If you are unsuccessful, send a statutory notice. The check writer has 15 days to respond and remit payment.
• If you do not hear from the check writer or receive payment, you can file criminal charges.
• Go to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the location where the check was issued. The following documents must be presented when the charges are filed:
• The original check(s) and the original certified/registered mail receipt, the notice or the returned unopened envelope containing the notice.
• Names of witnesses who know something about the check.
• The complaint affidavit fully completed and notarized.
• Contracts, receipts or other supporting documents.
• Make sure the check is stamped by the bank indicating the reason it was dishonored.
Check screening tips
A check is ELIGIBLE if:
• It was received in Polk County and deposited in a bank in exchange for goods or services presumed to be good at the time of acceptance.
• A Statutory Notice is sent to the check writer allowing seven days to make the check good.
• It is submitted to the worthless check diversion program.
• The person accepting the check and positively identify the check writer by:
• Personal knowledge of the check writer
• Photo identification provided
• Check cashing card provided
A check is INELIGIBLE if:
• It is post-dated.
• Both parties knew there were insufficient funds at the time of the transaction.
• It is an out of state, three party or government check.
• The identity of the check writer is unknown.
• There is no amount, date or signature on the check.
Check acceptance tips
• Institute a check acceptance policy.
• Accept checks written with today’s date only.
• Ensure the following information is listed on the check:
• Driver’s license number
• Home address (no P.O. Box numbers)
• Home telephone number
• Trust your instincts. You are not obligated to accept a check and can always ask for another form of payment.
What happens if a worthless check cannot be prosecuted?