If you choose not to pursue your civil remedy, it may be possible to prosecute the writer of a check returned for insufficient funds, a closed account, or no account for violating Section 570.120 Missouri Revised Statues (RSMO). Here is how you would commence criminal prosecution:
- Please fill out a check information sheet (PDF).
- If you do not have all the information requested, our ability to help you collect this check is limited. We urge you to change your procedures, so we can help you on future checks you might receive.
- The Financial Services Unit will take possession of the physical check. They will review your check information sheet and check and determine if the legal requirements for a bad check are met. If they are not, we will send you a letter as to why our office cannot accept the check for potential prosecution.
- Our office sends a 10-day demand letter to the check writer. Upon receipt of a payment, the Financial Services Unit will forward payment to you, the victim.
- Missouri law requires this notice to the check writer be sent from our office before we can prosecute the check. More importantly, it often leads to the check being paid off immediately.
- We will only accept a cashier's check or a money order. In addition to the full value of the check, the check writer must send an administrative handling fee for the Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
- According to Missouri Section 570.120 RSMO, our office, in addition to the face amount of the check, can collect a reasonable service charge for you. An additional $25 will be added per check.
- If the offender contacts you and wants to pay the check, you must refer them to the Bad Check Unit of the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. If you accept the payment, you will become responsible for the check writer's administrative handling fee. Do not accept a partial payment on the face value of the check. This will end all collection efforts on your behalf. Accepting partial payment means that you have agreed to let the check writer pay off the debt in several payments, or accept less than the full amount owed. We cannot file criminal charges if you have accepted partial payment.
- If a check writer does not make restitution, the prosecutor will review the case for charges. Only an Assistant St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney can determine whether the evidence is sufficient to file criminal charges. If charges are filed, a letter will be sent to the victim informing them of the updated case status. At this point, the case may be followed on Case.net.
- If criminal charges are to be filed, you must provide us with sufficient information to correctly identify this individual. Thus, we need a driver's license number and a date of birth (for use in the law enforcement computer system). A social security number will also suffice. A physical description, any known aliases, and the most recent address or workplace is also helpful. The more information you give us, the better chance the Sheriff will have of finding the check writer to arrest him or her.
- If your testimony is required, we will notify you of the time and place.
- A great majority of cases end in guilty pleas without testimony required from witnesses.
- In instances where a habitual offender or a professional fraud artist is involved, our prosecutors may seek a jail / prison sentence. If the prosecutor seeks incarceration as an appropriate punishment, and the judge sentences the defendant to jail / prison time, then restitution will probably not be collected by our office.
- Please remember that the prosecutor and the judge reserve the discretion to decide how the case is best concluded.
Because of legal technicalities, we may not prosecute:
- Postdated checks
- Checks that you agreed to hold
- Checks for which you agreed to accept or have accepted partial payment
- third-party checks
- Payroll checks
- Checks with a face value less than $40
- Offenders who cannot be sufficiently identified in a court of law
- Checks stamped refer to maker or uncollected funds
Were you told when you accepted the check that is was not good, but would be good later? If so, the check cannot be prosecuted in criminal court.
Possible Police Report
Checks over $1,000 in value may be referred back to you for a police report. In these cases, law enforcement agencies can do additional investigative work on your behalf.