When a person receives a bad check, they are required by California statutes to notify the check writer. If the check writer resolves the check at this point, it is no longer an issue.
However, if the check writer refuses to make restitution, the check can be turned over to this Check Enforcement Program. The check writer now has two choices: comply with the requirements of the Program or face possible prosecution.
Because this is a diversion program, there is a strong incentive for check writers to comply. They pay full restitution and the required fees or face possible prosecution. For the victim the process is easy; victims submit the original check attached to a completed Check Complaint Form. Multiple checks (from the same check writer) may be attached to the same form.
From that point on, the Program works directly with the check writer to obtain restitution. Besides paying the full amount of the check, the check writer is required to pay any bank charges incurred by the victim as well as pay the administrative cost of the Program. Finally, they are required to complete the Check Writer’s Educational Course.
If the check writer does not comply with the requirements of the Program, the case will be referred for possible prosecution. If your check is not prosecutable, you may then wish to consider turning the check over to a private collection agency or seeking recovery through other civil remedies.
While the primary goal of the Program is returning more to businesses and individuals who have lost money to bad check crime, there are aspects of the Program that help all of us.
Check offenders pay all the costs of the Program, so victims pay nothing. No county money or tax money is used to pay for this Program. That means no costs for merchants, taxpayers or county government.
Another important goal of the Program is fewer bad checks being issued in the first place. Prevention is preferable to prosecution.
Click on the links to learn more about how we work to help merchants and other victims avoid accepting bad checks and how we work to help bad check offenders avoid writing them.