How much do I pay for the Prosecutor to enforce payment of my check?
Nothing! This service is free to merchants and other victims of bad checks. The Check Enforcement Program requires the check writer to pay the full amount of the check – plus a service fee – to the victim. The check writer also pay the administrative costs of the program so it cost other taxpayers nothing as well.
How do I register for the Program?
You can register on-line or by calling the Check Enforcement Program at 1-888-616-6478. You will receive your Merchant Registration Number via U.S. Mail. As soon as you are registered, you can begin to submit bad checks you have received.
As soon as you are registered, you can begin to submit bad checks you have received to the Program.
What does it cost to participate in the Program?
The Check Enforcement Program costs victims and other taxpayers nothing. Bad check writers pay the entire cost of the Program.
If I have stores in another county, can I also submit the bad checks from passed at those stores?
For a check to qualify it must have been physically passed in Kane County. Bad checks passed in other counties may be submitted to that county’s State's Attorney’s Office. Not all Illinois counties have a program similar to the Check Enforcement Program. Check with that State's Attorney’s Office to see if you can submit the check to them.
What about checks I receive by mail from check writers who live outside Kane county?
A check that is received by mail is considered to have been passed in the location to which the mail was addressed. This means that a bad check that is received by mail (and qualified in all other respects) is eligible for the Check Enforcement Program.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor bad check and a felony bad check?
By Illinois law, a criminal bad check that is passed for less than $750 is considered a misdemeanor. Checks over $750 are felony offenses and carry a stiffer penalty. However, whether a check is a misdemeanor or felony offense, the check writer can be fined and or be sent to jail.
When will I receive the money the Program recovers?
Any restitution – including a victim’s fee – that is received by the Check Enforcement Program is passed on to the victim within seven days.
Why can’t I submit any check that was refused by the bank?
Certain checks are not eligible for the Check Enforcement Program. Some of these are considered civil matters. Some checks are considered more serious criminal matters in which the check writers is not eligible for a pre-trial diversion program and must face prosecution. Other bad checks are impossible to prosecute because proper identification was taken at the time of the transaction or for other similar reasons. And other checks do not qualify as valid payment instruments because of no signature or no amount was entered.
NOTE: If you are unsure whether a check qualifies for the Check Enforcement Program, submit it anyway. If the check does not qualify, it will be returned with an explanation of why it did not qualify.
What can I do about bad checks that don’t qualify for the Check Enforcement Program?
Checks that fall outside the boundaries of the Check Enforcement Program, usually take one of two possible paths. If the check is considered part of a civil matter, you can pursue the check writer in small claims court, with the help of a private attorney or through a collection agency.
What do I do if I think a check is forged?
Forged checks should be immediately submitted to the Sheriff’s or local Police Department.
Why do I have to contact the check writer first?
It is just good business practice to give a check writer an opportunity to make a check good, before you submit it to the Prosecutor’s Office. Honest people make honest mistakes and by letting them know, you can save hard feelings and potentially keep an good customer. A sample Demand Letter is provided on this site that is intended to be a cordial but firm notification.
If you have notified the check writer and they fail to respond within ten (10) days, you should immediately submit the check to the Check Enforcement Program. (NOTE: for checks marked “Stop Payment” you must give the check writer twenty (20) days to respond.)
Why can’t I send my bad checks to a collection agency before I submit them to the Program?
Collection agencies are private companies simply ask for payment of a bad check on your behalf. They have no ability to prosecute a criminal offense or offer a check writer the opportunity to enter a pre-trial diversion program. These agencies usually try for several months to collect a check. By the time a check has gone through that process it is often too old to qualify for the Check Enforcement Program. The chances of successfully enforcing restitution or prosecuting the check writer for the crime are dramatically lowered.
Why can’t the Prosecutor take all the non-complying check writers to court?
Checks are a legal document. As such they must be complete and the various elements such as signature, address, and other identification must be verifiable. If one or another part of a check is missing or can not be verified, it becomes difficult or impossible to successfully prosecute the case. That’s why it is so important that merchants follow the Program Guidelines when they accept any check.
What can I do to make sure a check qualifies for prosecution?
The Guidelines that are provided on this site outline the steps that a person should take to insure that a check is handled properly at the time of the transaction. If one or another of these steps are overlooked, the check may not qualify for the Check Enforcement Program.
Please download a copy of the Guidelines and share it with all management and staff personnel who handle bad checks. Go over your store policy for handling bad checks - in detail. If you need help developing a solid set of check handling policies, please contact our office.
Can I get a service fee for the bad check from the Program?
Yes. The Check Enforcement Program can require the check writer to pay the actual bank charges that a victim incurs in handling the bad check. This is a requirement of the Program that check writers must comply with to satisfy their responsibility. If they fail to reimburse the victim for bank charges – even if they pay the full amount of the check – they may still be subject to prosecution.
Why can’t I get the posted service fee I normally charge for a returned check?
The Check Enforcement Program is bound by law to require check writers to pay only the actual bank costs that were incurred by the victim.
Can I put more than one check on a Complaint Form?
Yes. You can put multiple checks on a single complaint form BUT, all the checks on a single complaint form must have been received from a single check writer.
What can I do about a bad check that is returned because the Program can’t prosecute the case?
There are several reasons that the Check Enforcement Program might not be able to enforce restitution: the check writer has moved and can not be located, the check writer has died and the check is a part of an estate settlement, insufficient identification was taken at the time of the transaction. When a check is returned by the Program, a letter will accompany it that states the specific reason it could not be enforced. At that point, the victim can pursue the matter in small claims court, with the help of a private attorney or a collection agency.
After I submit a check to the Program, why can’t I take the money it the check writer wants to pay the check off at my store?
Once a bad check has been submitted to the Check Enforcement Program, the check writer is given the opportunity to participate in the pre-trial diversion program or face possible criminal prosecution. Because the bad check is now part of a legal proceeding (in either instance) it must be resolved through the Check Enforcement Program.
Merchants that accept payment for a bad check that has been submitted to the Check Enforcement Program can be barred from further use of the Program.
Does the Enforcement Program publish lists of check writers in the Program so that other merchants will be warned?
Because the Check Enforcement Program has the power to offer legal remedies for resolving a bad check, the issue is a closed issue between the check writer, the victim and the Program or any associated attorneys and agents for these parties. The Check Enforcement Program will not knowingly release any information about a bad check to anyone other than those parties directly involved with the case.