Bad Check Program
Writing a cold check is a crime pursuant to KRS 514.040 – Theft By Deception. Specifically, a “person is guilty of theft by deception when the person obtains property or services of another by deception with intent to deprive the person thereof. . . . A person deceives when the person intentionally issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee.”
Bad Checks are a problem that all businesses in Campbell County must confront. Collecting on bad checks are a problem for most businesses because of the time and cost involved outweigh the benefit of having the debt paid. However, the Campbell County Attorney’s Office is here to help.
How the Bad Check Program Works
If you are unable to collect on a bad check someone gives you, you may bring the check to the Campbell County Attorney’s Office at 319 York Street, Newport, Kentucky, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and we will attempt to collect on that check for you. You should have a valid street address and be able to identify the maker of the check. If we issue criminal charges, the Sheriff cannot serve the defendant at a P. O. Box address. Also if criminal charges are necessary, we will need a date of birth, social security number, or driver’s license number for the Defendant.
After you come to our office we will then send a letter notifying the party that they have eighteen (18) days within which to make the check good. The writer of the check will receive a letter from our office along with a deposit slip to deposit the amount of the check, plus fees, at any Fifth Third Bank location. Payments that are collected and deposited to that account are mailed to merchants on two designated days each month. As of February 1, 2009, the bad check fees for the county attorney’s office is $50.00 per check which is charged to the Defendant.
If the individual does not make the check good within eighteen (18) days, our office will call the merchant to come in to sign criminal charges for THEFT BY DECEPTION. Once the criminal complaint is signed, the defendant will receive a summons to appear in Court. You will not need to be present for the arraignment. If the person pleads guilty at the arraignment, the court will make sure that the defendant is required to pay off the bad check. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the case will be set for a trial and you will likely be subpeoned. It is rare that a trial is ever necessary.
We encourage you to bring bad checks to our office as soon as possible after your efforts to collect. The sooner we pursue collection, the better the results. You should not use this service if someone stops payment on a check to you because of a dispute over the quality or quantity of work done for you. We will not issue criminal charges for this type of a civil dispute.
We presently handle hundreds of bad check cases every month for many businesses and individuals in Campbell County. We encourage those not presently using this service to begin doing so. As mentioned above, this is a free service provided by this office so that you can receive payment on your bad checks.
Steps you can take to prevent losses from cold checks
- Post stickers and signs warning customers of your intent to prosecute individuals writing cold checks (Stickers available from County Attorney’s Office);
- Obtain ID information from check writers, such as Driver’s License Number, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, and/or Telephone Number;
- Present cold checks to County Attorney ASAP to increase probability of receiving payment
- Don’t accept any check you are uncomfortable with for any reason!