Bad Check Restitution Program
Bad Check Policy
The Pittsfield Township Police Department, in cooperation with the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office, has developed the following check policy for Pittsfield Township residents and businesses. Because of the volume of bad checks passed in Pittsfield Township, the Pittsfield Township Police Department will only seek criminal prosecution. Those persons who desire only monetary restitution must seek relief in the civil courts. The Pittsfield Township Police Department cannot be a collection agency, however, the Bad Check Restitution Program can assist you in cases where you do not wish to seek criminal prosecution. Acceptance by you of restitution can possibly negate criminal prosecution at a later date. Before accepting any restitution, consult the prosecutor's office or the Pittsfield Township Police Department.
Bad Check Restitution Program
The Bad Check Restitution Program was specifically "designed to assist merchants in recovering losses from intentionally written bad checks. The Program is FREE to all victims who accept a bad check within Washtenaw County. It is designed to handle dishonored checks marked 'Insufficient or Non-sufficient Funds,' 'Account Closed' and 'No Account' that are passed in Washtenaw County. Our primary goal is to assure full restitution for the victim - including a victim's service fee - without adding to the financial burden of the criminal justice system." Go to the Bad Check Restitution Program for more information, forms, and to sign up.
When is a "Bad Check" a crime vs. not a crime?
- Passing of a stolen, forged, counterfeit and / or altered check, money order, withdrawal slip etc. that constitutes the offense of Uttering & Publishing, is a felony charge.
- Checks written upon banks in which there was "No Account" is also a felony charge.
- Checks returned due to "Non-Sufficient Funds" in the account. The prosecutor will determine the charge depending on other specific factors.
- Three fraudulent checks drawn, uttered or delivered within a ten-day period is a felony charge.
- Not a crime
- A stop payment check; unless fraud has been involved and can be conclusively proven.
- A check issued to repay a loan.
- A post-dated check or one bearing a current date in which the maker requests the payee to hold until a later date.
- Out of state checks (though some exceptions are made).
- Illegal debt (such as contraband or a gambling debt).
- The mere fact that an individual passes a bad check does not necessarily constitute a crime. It must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that there was intent to defraud at the time the check was passed.
- A check passed on to and cashed by a second party who is not the payee constitutes a civil complaint.
In all cases involving the prosecution for bad checks, the intent to defraud must be established.
Seeking Criminal Prosecution, Obtaining a Warrant
To obtain a warrant in bad check cases, the Pittsfield Township Police Department must be able to prove an intent to defraud, and requires the following;
- A five-day notice sent by certified mail or by personal service, signed for by a responsible person. Download our 5 day Notice or obtain one at the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety.
- If the check is not made good within ten days, file a report with the Pittsfield Township Police Department within 60 days of the receipt of the check, or there must be sufficient explanation for the delay.
- Present the proof of service, the return of the five-day notice and the original check to the Pittsfield Township Police Department at the time the report is filed.
- The check must have been passed in Pittsfield Township. The police department will make a complete investigation prior to presentation to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office.
Preventative Measures & Safeguards
To prevent being the victim of a bad check and protect yourself and/or your business, you should:
- Insist on positive identification and check proof of identity with physical description.. A valid Michigan Operator's License is preferred. In those instances where the person claims not to have a valid Michigan Operator's License, you should demand to see at least one piece of photographic identification.
- Do not cash "Second Party Checks," which is a check passed onto and presented for cashing by a second person that is not the original maker.
- The person who receives the check must be able to identify the check passer later in court proceedings. Therefore, the person accepting the check must initial it. If possible, assign only one person to approve checks. Keep a daily schedule of who is responsible.
- Cash checks for only the amount of the purchase.
- Do not accept checks without the passer's name printed on the check.
- Consider the possibility of implementing a check cashing courtesy card system. This system provides your employees with a current list of customers whose checks may be accepted. Accepting a check from a person who does not possess a check cashing courtesy card is done at your own risk.
- Keep a list of the names of people who have passed bad checks. Consult this list before accepting any check.