A simple definition of check fraud is making or delivering any check or other monetary payment, knowing that the account has insufficient funds to cover it at the time a person delivers the check or other monetary payment drawn upon a bank. That is also called uttering or bouncing a check.
To prove the person knew at the time they wrote the check that there were insufficient funds in the account, they must receive notice in person or in writing that the check bounced. If the person does not correct it and make a payment within five days after being notified, it is presumed that the person had the intent to defraud and had with the knowledge that there were insufficient funds at the time they wrote the check.
When someone is facing this charge they should speak to a DC check fraud attorney. Even if an individual has not yet arrested but was contacted by law enforcement, accused of a crime, or is aware of an investigation, that person should talk to an attorney.
If the value of the check that was defrauded is $1,000 or more, it is convicted as a felony and the person is looking at one to three years in prison. When the value of the defrauded check is less than $1,000, the charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail.
When the check fraud is alleged to have a pattern or scheme, the person could be charged with a broader fraud charge. That means they engaged in a pattern or scheme intending to defraud another person or entity.
An individual could also be charged with theft in certain instances of check fraud. Oftentimes, people might steal and write checks pretending to be the true holder of that account. In that case, theft is involved as well, whether it is straight theft or identity theft.
There may also be forgery charges if that individual pretends to be someone else and signs a check, using someone else’s paycheck. Oftentimes, in check fraud situations, there are these additional charges depending upon the facts of the particular case.
A person knows they are being investigated for check fraud if they are contacted by their bank or by law enforcement. They could be contacted by a specific business that received a check from the person. The check bounced and the business wants remuneration. They want the person to make good on the payment.
When an investigation is more than an inquiry that means it is more than someone getting their money back. The person could be notified by the bank that there are some irregularities or the person might be contacted by law enforcement. It is at this point that a person should contact a check fraud lawyer in DC.
Check fraud is a crime that is prosecuted and has substantial penalties associated with it. There are fines and the possibility of jail or prison. Someone who is or may be charged with check fraud needs to consult with a DC check fraud attorney as soon as possible to make sure they are doing the appropriate things regarding the possible defense of the allegations against them.
In the case of a check fraud allegation, the defendant must prepare all of the information related to the specific account showing the exact balance and bank activity. This is because the government must prove the person had knowledge that there were insufficient funds.
Sometimes, there are abnormalities in a person’s check activity so a DC check fraud lawyer must be able to quickly analyze that information to see how strong a defense can be put together.
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