Check fraud is a form of criminal bank fraud that involves using checks to illegally acquire or borrow funds that do not actually exist in the account balance.
Check fraud may range from “floating” a check to check forgery. All forms of check fraud, whether by an individual or business, carry criminal penalties, which vary depending on the state and the circumstances.
For information about check fraud in your state, and any criminal charges you may face, discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney. Simply fill out the free case evaluation form on this page or call 877-455-1059 to connect with a criminal attorney today.
Types of Check Fraud
Check Floating – Floating involves writing a check, and making a deposit to cover the amount afterward. This is a practice common among those who live paycheck-to-paycheck. Although innocent by nature, it can be a serious offense if repeated floating is detected by your bank.
Check Kiting – Kiting is similar to floating, and often involves using multiple bank accounts to “cover” the transactions of one another until a legitimate deposit is made. As banks become more automated and checks clear more quickly, kiting has become more difficult to get away with. Many banks now have computer software the detects suspicious account activity, such as frequent large deposits but a low average daily balance.
Bad Check Writing – Bad check writing can happen to the best of us, and may not necessarily be a criminal act. However, frequent bad check writing can ruin one’s credit and break the law. Many stores have a “bad check writer” list for those who consistently bounce checks.
Forgery – Check forgery could be done in a number of ways, such as altering the amount of a check written to you; intercepting a check and rewriting it in your name; changing the routing numbers on a check; and many other ways.
Check Fraud Punishments
In most states, the punishment for check fraud depends on the total amount of money fraudulently obtained or written. Depending on that amount, which could be as low as $25, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges.
Generally, a conviction for misdemeanor check fraud is punishable by a small fine (usually under $500), up to one year in prison, or both.
Those convicted of felony check fraud face a larger fine (usually at least $1,000), at least one year in prison, or both.
Most states also allow banks, business or individuals victimized by check fraud to file a civil law suit, and can be awarded payment for the amount due or lost, cost of the suit and attorney’s fees, as well as collections fees, interest and other damages.
Discuss Check Fraud Charges with a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing check fraud charges, it is important to know the laws and facts that could affect your case and your future. A criminal defense attorney can explain check fraud laws in your state and tell you whether you may face jail time, fines or both.
Connect with a local criminal defense lawyer today. Simply fill out our free online evaluation form or call 877-455-1059 to find an attorney in your area.