Information Center

Bad Checks

I take bad check cases seriously. These crimes are financially devastating to businesses, victims, and directly effect the economic stability of our community. I am authorized by Missouri law to prosecute bad checks that are fraudulently passed in Greene County. Bad check cases refer to checks returned and marked "insufficient funds," "account closed," or "no account found." If you have received a bad check, we would be glad to help you recover your money. Our collection services will not cost you any money. Last year, we were able to collect over $587,000 for Greene County businesses and victims. Defendants are responsible for all fees and restitution. Below you will find instructions on how to submit a bad check case to our office and answers to frequently asked questions regarding bad check cases.

  1. How do I submit a bad check case?
  2. How do I get restitution?
  3. Is there a fee required to be paid by a victim when referring a check to the Bad Check Division?
  4. What are the do's and don't when accepting checks?
  5. What happens to a bad check writer?
  6. What if the check writer is a juvenile?
  7. Will bankruptcy keep me from collecting my money?
  8. What about administrative handling fees charged to the check writer?
  9. What about merchant fees?
  10. What about out-of-state checks?
  11. What about payroll checks?
  12. What about two party checks?
  13. What about "uncollected funds" checks?
  14. What about "refer to maker" checks?
  15. How do I find out how much restitution I owe?
  16. How do I pay off my bad checks?
  17. What if I believe my checks have been stolen or forged?
  18. What if I cannot come to my court date?
  19. DISCLAIMER


How do I submit a bad check case?

  • When a check has been returned to you from the bank for insufficient funds or because the account has been closed, try to collect the check by sending written notice to the check writer that the check did not clear and demanding payment.
  • If you have not received payment within 30 days, bring or send by mail the original check, a copy of any letters demanding payment, and the Bad Check Form and Probable Cause Statement below. Send a completed Bad Check Form and PC Statement for EACH bad check submitted.

DOWNLOAND BAD CHECK FORM

  • Upon receipt of the above, this office will send a demand letter.
  • If this office does not receive payment within thirty days of the demand letter, we will then review the bad check to determine if criminal charges can be brought. If we can file charges, you may be required to appear in court and testify.
  • When the office does receive payment, we will then forward the payment on to you.

Back to top



How do I get restitution?

  • The Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office will accept restitution payments on behalf of every victim.
  • We will instruct all defendants to make a money order payable to you or your business and deliver it to our office.
  • We will then forward to you or your agent the money order for your deposit.
  • Do not accept payment after the check has been sent to our office. By doing so you may compromise our collection efforts and criminal prosecution.

Back to top



Is there a fee required to be paid by a VICTIM when referring a check to the Bad Check Division?

  • No.

Back to top



What are the do's and don't when accepting checks?

  • Identify the check writer by photographic I.D., preferably by their Missouri Driver's License or Non-Driver I.D. Ensure that the photo matches the check writer.
  • Take as much information about the person passing the check as possible. Including: social security number, current address, date of birth and phone number.
  • Make sure the check is filled out in your presence.
  • Do not accept postdated checks.
  • Do not accept two-party checks (i.e. a check that is made payable to someone other than the person or business accepting the check, such as payroll checks).
  • Do not accept a "held check" where the check writer tells you that the funds will be deposited at a later date.

Back to top



What happens to a bad check writer?

  • Returned checks marked "insufficient funds," "account closed," or "no account found," may be prosecuted criminally.
  • Complaints on first time offenders with less than $500 in bad checks who have paid all their bad checks and fees prior to the filing of criminal charges are usually declined for prosecution.
  • If we receive a new check complaint on an offender that had previously had a check case dismissed (i.e. case dismissed because all restitution was paid) and the new check was written within sixty days of the dismissal, we will review the new complaint for filing of the new charge.
  • If a case is under review for criminal charges and the offender believes they have documentation proving they did not intentionally write the bad checks, copies of the documentation that shows this along with a written letter explaining the situation must be provided. The letter should give specific information regarding the circumstances that prove the bad checks were not intentionally written.
  • If a case has already been filed, the appropriate documentation should be presented at the next court date.
  • Felony charges will be considered if the offender has bad checks totaling $1,000.00 or more, OR if one or more of the bad checks was written in the amount of $500.00 or more.

Back to top



What if the check writer is a juvenile?

  • Any check writer that is under the age of seventeen on the date the check was passed, cannot be pursued for charges by our office.
  • Please send the complaint to the Greene County Juvenile Division (417) 868-4008.

Back to top



Will bankruptcy keep me from collecting my money?

  • The filing of bankruptcy does NOT stop the prosecutor's office from prosecuting criminal bad check writers.
  • The filing of bankruptcy can affect the collection of restitution in a criminal check case, but does not prohibit obtaining a criminal conviction.

Back to top



What about administrative handling fees charged to the check writer?

  • Administrative fees are not waived as part of a plea of guilty and must be paid by the bad check writer.
  • These fees are set by state statute and the value is determined by the face amount of the check. An administrative handling fee is retained by the prosecutor's office and will be no less than $25 and no greater than $75 per check. The statutory MOPS fee is an additional $5 per check and is paid to the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services.

Back to top



What about merchant fees?

  • Once a check is referred for prosecution, Section 570.120 RSMo, allows for the "collection from the issuer, in addition to the face amount of the check, ... a reasonable service charge, to be turned over to the party to whom the bad check was issued." The Greene County Prosecutor's Office has determined that reasonable fee to be $5.00 a check and we strive to retrieve that for the victim of the crime.

Back to top



What about out-of-state checks?

  • Complaints for checks written on out-of-state banks and that total less than $500 will be declined and the complaint will be returned to the merchant or victim.
  • Complaints for checks written on out-of-state banks and that total $500 or more will be accepted for consideration of prosecution, with the exception of checks written on banks located in the State of Louisiana. This is due to the fact that the State of Louisiana will not honor our State Court's Subpoenas for records.

Back to top



What about payroll checks?

  • Missouri Statutes require that criminal charges be filed or declined on all payroll checks within sixty days from the date the complaint is received by our office. (Section 570.120.17 RSMo)

Back to top



What about "two party" checks?

  • Two-party checks are checks that are made payable to someone other than the person or business accepting the check, such as a payroll check.
  • Generally, two party check disputes are a civil, not criminal, matter. Therefore, we do not file criminal charges on two-party checks unless the second party is also a signer on the account.

Back to top



What about "uncollected funds" checks?

  • Checks marked "uncollected funds" are usually civil in nature and generally mean that something happened on the account that was beyond the control of the account holder.
  • Because of this we cannot prove the required element of a criminal intent to defraud, and these checks will be declined for prosecution.

Back to top



What about "refer to maker" checks?

  • Checks marked "refer to maker" are generally a civil, not criminal, matter as they are usually the result of something other than a criminal intent to defraud (i.e. a change in bank ownership, etc.).
  • However, they may be subject to criminal liability if the "refer to maker" order was due to insufficient funds.

Back to top



How do I find out how much restitution I owe?

  • Come to the Prosecuting Attorney's Bad Check Division and they will provide you with a list of checks that have been turned in for collection.
  • The list includes the Business Name, Check Number, Check Date, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney fee, Victim fee and MOPS fee.
  • The Prosecuting Attorney’s Bad Check Division is located at the following address:

    Greene County Judicial Court Facility – Second Floor
    1010 Boonville, Springfield, MO 65802
    Telephone: (417) 868-4034
    Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Back to top



How do I pay off my bad checks?

  • All restitution payments will be accepted by the Prosecuting Attorney's Bad Check Division.
  • You will need to have a money order or cashier check made payable to the individual or business on the list for the combined amount of the check and victim fee.
  • You will need to have a money order or cashiers check made payable to "Greene County" for the combined amount of the Prosecuting Attorney (PA) and MOPS fees.
  • Our office CANNOT accept cash, check or any method of payment other than money order or cashier check.

Back to top



What if I believe my checks have been stolen or forged?

  • You must provide the prosecutor's office with a copy of an Affidavit of Forgery completed at your bank, indicating the check number(s) that have been forged.
  • You must also provide the name of the law enforcement agency you reported to and the corresponding police report.
  • Once this information is provided, an assistant prosecutor will review the police report and make a filing decision.

Back to top



What if I cannot come to my court date?

  • We cannot reset or change your court date.
  • We cannot excuse you from appearing in Court.
  • We cannot get your warrant recalled, removed or lifted.
  • Only the Court can do these things.

Back to top



DISCLAIMER

The above information is published by the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. It contains general information about the law and our Bad Check program. It does not contain a complete statement of the law in this area and is not a substitute for legal advice.

If you need legal advice, contact a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, call the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association referral service (417) 831-2783 or http://www.smba.cc/LawyerReferralService.cfm.

Back to top