FLORIDA LITIGATION AND BUSINESS LAW ATTORNEY
What is a Worthless Check?
Under Florida law, any checks returned “NSF” (non-sufficient funds), “Account Closed” “Account Not Found” or “NSF Unless Otherwise Indicated is a worthless check subject to civil and criminal prosecution under Florida statutes. Checks stamped “Refer To Maker” or Uncollected Funds” may require additional investigation before being charged criminally.
Checks Stamped “Stop Payment” may be subject to civil and criminal prosecution, but are typically legitimate means of dealing with a contractual dispute. Unfortunately, it is against the law to stop payment on a check for any reason other than the check being lost. There types of matters can be handled in civil court, where the recipient is entitled to treble or three times the amount of the check in damages. This is under the Florida Worthless Check Statute.
Florida law gives the authority to either file a civil suit or prosecute the crime of passing worthless bank checks. The proper judicial circuit for the prosecution of this crime is usually the circuit in which the check was presented and accepted. The law requires that certain steps be taken by the recipient of a “worthless check” before the State Attorney begins prosecution.
If you are the victim of passing a worthless bank check, contact us. You will be required to first present a statutory 30 day letter, allowing them to replace the funds with certified funds or cash. After the passage of thirty (30) days, you can then file suit. Simultaneously, you can file a claim with the State Attorney for the judicial circuit in which the check was accepted and they will assist you in the recovery process.
If you are the victim of a worthless check, call us. We have been pursuing worthless checks in court for over 21 years. Filing a civil suit may be the best way to collect
What should I do to protect myself against being victimized by a worthless check?
Accepting a check as payment for goods or services is not mandatory. Insisting cash or certified checks and money orders is a legitimate option.If you decide to accept check as a form of payment, follow these guidelines:
- Do not accept post-dated checks (checks dated for future or indeterminate dates).
- These checks cannot be prosecuted for the crime of passing a worthless bank check if a bank dishonors them, but such checks may be resolved by a civil suit in small claims court.
- Do not agree to hold a check, even for a few hours.
- Accepting a check and agreeing to hold it indicates there are insufficient funds in the checking account at the time the check was presented, and if the check is dishonored by the bank, the matter cannot be prosecuted for the crime of passing a worthless bank check. The situation may be resolved in a small claims court civil suit.
- Do not accept third-party checks.
- If the person who wrote the check is not the person responsible for payment, the check may stolen or forged.
- Ask for a form of picture identification—Driver’s License or identification issued by a governmental agency.
- Examine the card carefully to make sure it has not been altered, and that the person on the ID is the same person from whom you are accepting the check. Note: Fake ID cards can be purchased through the mail or over the internet. Pay close attention to holograms and minor details to ensure the legitimacy of the ID.
- Look for personal information on the check. If it is not already there, you may ask the person to write the following information on the front of the check:
- Home address:
- Home telephone number:
- Date of Birth:
- Place of employment:
- Employer’s telephone number:
- Make sure that information appearing on the check is the same as the information appearing on the ID card.
- Make sure there is a signature on the check, and compare it with the signature on the ID card.
- Review the check carefully. Make sure the check is made out for the proper amount, and that the amount of the check written by numbers is the same as the amount in words.
- If the check presented is a company check or temporary check with no name or address printed on the check, have the person presenting the check PRINT their name under the signature line.
- Verify available funds by calling the financial institution that maintains the checking account.
- Remember: It is possible for there to be sufficient funds at the time of a call, but insufficient funds before the check is processed.
If you need help in collecting on a worthless bad check in Florida, give us a call. The first consultation is free and collection is usually done on a contingency basis.
Call us today.
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Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA
706 S. Dixie Highway
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Tel: 305 669 5280