It’s not uncommon for people to write bad checks at times. Whether intentional or unintentional, this action is still illegal and can be prosecuted as check fraud. A check fraud charge is a serious white-collar criminal offense. Writing even one hot check can bring serious criminal consequences.
Writing a bad check basically consists of issuing a personal check when insufficient funds are in the writer’s checking account. This can cause the business or person who tries to cash the bounced check to experience loss of funds or credibility. Besides the damage that an insufficient check can cause to a business, federal and state governments have strict guidelines that provide penalties for trying to pass a worthless check.
What’s So Bad About a Bounced Check?
Passing a bad check goes by many names: bouncing a check, writing a hot check, passing a worthless check, etc. Whatever this action is called, it’s still an act of fraud and is subject to criminal prosecution. The main reason that check fraud is so severely punished is that it undermines the basic premises of the free enterprise system.
The American economy depends upon the faithful and reliable payment of debts and credits. When someone illegally subverts this process by writing a hot check, they are upsetting a very important process. Even if the bounced check is for a very small amount, the bad check represents insufficient funds that can cause a business that cashes the hot check to lose money.
When that business loses money, it can cause raised prices that unfairly affect honest customers. No matter how you look at it, insufficient checks seriously hurt the system of free enterprise.
Penalties for Charges of Check Fraud
In Texas, fraudulent acts are prosecuted and punished severely. Depending on the amount of the check or the frequency with which the bad check issuer passed bad checks in the past, the legal consequences can vary. Some of the punishments can include:
- Jail or prison time
- Ruined credit history
- Community supervision
- Community service
While writing a bad check may only take a few seconds, the consequences can last a long time. It’s not necessary to write a hot check for a large amount to receive strict consequences, as even a small amount can bring penalties. Because this crime is so common, the punishments are frequently strict in order to deter bad check writers from pursuing a similar action in the future.
A white-collar crimes attorney who is experienced with check fraud charges can help a defendant to manage their defense. For example, the defense attorney can negotiate with a judge to try to secure a less severe sentence if the alleged offender has never committed a similar offense before.
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