Bad Check Prosecution
Bad Check Collection / Prosecution Information for Merchants
The Harper County Attorney's Office wishes to assist, as much as possible, in preventing losses to merchants due to the passing of worthless checks. Please be advised, however, that this office is not a collection agency and cannot legally act as one. Our primary function is to prosecute crime.
Unfortunately, due to many legal considerations, we can prosecute on checks submitted to us only if they meet certain requirements. These guidelines are offered to help us put together a prosecutable case, in order to increase your chances for a full recovery.
Requirements for Prosecution
- The check must have been passed in Harper County, Kansas, and you must be able to positively identify the passer either by personal knowledge or by driver's license number, or other government photo identification, and address.
- We must be able to prove all of the following:
- That the check writer intended to defraud you at the time he/she gave you the check; accordingly, you must have given the passer of the check goods, services, or cash at the time you received the check. By sending the seven day letter in the manner required, you can help create a rebuttable presumption that the check writer intended to defraud you if they do not pay the check in full as demanded.
- That you accepted the check in good faith that it would clear the bank on the day that it was actually written. It must not be post-dated and the writer or passer must not have indicated in any manner that it was not good at the time presented, or, if it was post-dated or not yet good, that you did not present it for payment before the date given.
- The merchant-payee must send the seven day letter (PDF) to the person who signed the check, at the address indicated on the face of the check, via certified, return-receipt mail, marked restricted delivery, within 90 days from the date the check was received.
- The letter must state the check number, the amount of the check, and why the check was returned, e.g. insufficient funds or closed account.
- The letter must advise the check writer that he/she has seven days from the date of the receipt of the letter to make the check good (thus, this is referred to as the seven day letter), or that the passer(s) will be turned over to the county attorney for criminal prosecution.
- Once the payee has received the return-receipt card and seven days have passed, or the letter is returned for whatever reason, the merchant can then turn the check over to the county attorney for collection, along with a copy of the seven day letter, and the notarized merchant affidavit (PDF).
- After the check is turned over to the county attorney for collection, a 14 day letter is sent to the individual(s) who passed the check giving one last chance to pay the check or face criminal prosecution. Before criminal charges are filed, a $30 service charge is assessed for each bad check. The individual is given approximately 14 days to respond to the letter. If the letter is returned, or if it has been delivered and no response has been received, the county attorney will file a criminal complaint.
- The county attorney always retains the discretion as to whether or not to file the case, and, once filed, as to whether or not to ask the court to issue either a summons or warrant for the defendant to appear before the court. Once a criminal action is filed, the defendant will then be assessed the $30 service charge plus the statutory $10 county attorney collection fee on each check.