The Lenawee County Prosecutor's Office has a new program called the Bad Check Program that is managed by its Economic Crimes Unit (ECU). This program was developed to assist businesses recover losses from bad check writers. It is easy, quick and free to businesses in Lenawee County.
Merchants now have the option of referring bad check cases to the ECU. The ECU reviews the facts and decides if the bad check writer qualifies for a diversion program. The ECU can pursue checks written in any amount and up to 6 years old. Those who qualify must repay the merchant the amount of the bad check, bank fees, plus pay the ECU a separate diversion programming fee. Some participants will be required to attend an economics crime course. Those who comply will not be formally charged for writing the bad check. While formal criminal prosecution will remain an option for the ECU, it is reserved for repeat offenders, bad check writers with extensive criminal histories, or those bad check writers who fail to comply with the diversion program.
Merchants need to follow the steps if they choose to engage the ECU to pursue a bad check debt:
- Use the Notice Form provided by the ECU. This form is easy to fill out and contains directions for completion. This Notice Form gives the bad check writer 5 days to contact the merchant and settle the debt.
- If the bad check writer does not respond within 10 days, fill out the Check Complaint Form provided by the ECU. Submit the Complaint Form along with a copy of the Notice Form that was sent to the check writer and a copy of the check itself that is the subject of dispute. These items can then be sent to the Lenawee County Prosecutors Office.
- The ECU will then open a complaint and pursue the recovery.
A check is eligible if the following conditions are met:
- The check was received in Lenawee County. The check can be out of state but must have been received in Lenawee County.
- The 5 day notice provided by the ECU was sent.
- Some stop payment checks are eligible. Will need to contact with ECU for specific circumstances.
A check is NOT eligible if any of the following apply:
- The check cannot be post dated.
- Any check accepted that the merchant knew would be NSF
- Any 2-party, government, or payroll checks are ineligible for the program.
- The check must have the ID and phone number of the check writer available.
- Any check not processed by a bank is ineligible for the program.
- Numeric and written amounts on the check must match.
- An amount, date, and signature on the check must be visible.
Any business can protect themselves by having a Check Policy. Require a Photo ID. Write ID number or Driver's License number on the check. Compare photo on ID with check passer every time. Accept only checks with today's date. If something does not feel right, do not accept the check. You are under no obligation to accept checks.