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What is check fraud?

Indiana residents who are charged with fraud should be aware that the law treats these acts as harshly and sometimes more harshly as it does violent crimes. Fraud is something that happens frequently in Indiana and across the nation and comes in a variety of forms. One type of fraud is check fraud, also referred to as check deception. Knowing when an act constitutes check fraud and the penalties that accompany a conviction is vital to those who are accused of these violations of state law.

If a person issues a check a draft or any payment instrument from a credit institution to garner money or property while knowing that it is not going to be honored or paid then they will be committing check deception. It is usually a Class A misdemeanor, except in certain circumstances. The crime will be a Level 6 felony if it is for a minimum of $750 and less than $50,000. It will be a Level 5 felony if the amount is for a minimum of $50,000.

A check that was unpaid with the drawee refusing to pay it and printing, stamping or writing the reason on it will be considered prima facie (on its face) evidence that it was made out for payment and dishonor and was properly dishonored due to what was written on the payment instrument. A check or other payment instrument that was delivered and refused is evidence that the person who provided it was aware that it would not be honored. Having insufficient funds or the absence of an account with the institution in question is also considered to be evidence that the individual was aware that it was not going to be paid or honored.

If the following two items are provided on the payment instrument, it too will be considered prima facie evidence for check deception: the name, residence, business or mailing address of the maker; a driver's license number, Social Security number, place of employment or home phone number of the maker of the check. It is important to remember that a bounced check will not be considered check deception provided the amount due is paid after the fact along with the accompanying fees for the lack of funds.

Since the changes can rise to a felony if the amount of the check is high enough, it is essential that anyone charged with check deception understand the importance of a strong defense. A lawyer who is experienced in helping clients accused of various kinds of fraud can help with that defense.

Source: iga.in.gov, "IC 35-43-5-5 Check Deception," accessed on Nov. 13, 2017

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