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Writing bad checks can result in stiff legal penalties

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | White Collar Crimes |

Despite the declining use of checks, they remain a staple in small business and personal transactions. Although issuing a check seems straightforward, the law recognizes that mistakes can occur and gives you enough time to rectify any oversights. However, deliberately writing a bad check may constitute check fraud, a crime that carries severe legal consequences in Michigan.

What constitutes check fraud?

Check fraud is an umbrella term for various offenses involving the creation and use of a check when there are insufficient funds in the account to cover it. It can take on many forms, such as:

  • Bouncing checks: Writing a check fully aware that you do not have the funds to cover it.
  • Check kiting: Writing off checks and passing them back and forth between multiple bank accounts to falsely inflate bank balances before each check bounces.
  • No account check: Attempting to cash a check from an account that is no longer active or does not exist.
  • Forgery: Using a stolen or forged signature, altering the check amount or issuing a check without authorization.

If you accidentally bounce a check, you must contact your bank and the receiver immediately. Taking action to address your error shows you have good intentions. You’ll have five days to correct the mistake. Otherwise, you may face fraud charges.

The true cost of bounced checks

Whether by an honest error or a deliberate act, the penalties for writing bad checks are serious. A conviction could lead to a felony charge and land you in jail for up to two years or cost you up to a $500 fine. Moreover, uttering and publishing, a felony involving the use of false or forged documents to commit fraud may result in a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Should you face criminal accusations involving the use of checks, enlisting a criminal defense attorney may be vital. Their prompt and experienced guidance may be key in safeguarding your reputation and minimizing the impact of fraud charges on your life.