Writing checks is not as popular as it used to be, with many people using credit or debit cards in place of checks. However, checks are still used more than you think.
According to the Federal Reserve, approximately 1.73 billion checks were written in 2015. Additionally, many people use their smartphones to electronically deposit checks.
This means that there are many opportunities for check fraud. You may associate check fraud with simply writing a check on an account you know may not have enough funds to cover the check.
How does check fraud work?
In fact, there are many different types of check fraud, including:
- Check kiting
- Paper hanging
Check kiting is purposely taking money from an account before it is removed by a bank. Counterfeiting is intentionally creating checks using someone else’s information.
Forging a check occurs when you sign your name on a check without having the authority to do so, while paper hanging is writing checks for accounts you know do not exist or are closed.
You may take checks from someone, and if you intend to use them for yourself, you have committed theft. Check washing is another form of check fraud and involves the use of chemicals to physically remove information from checks.
Defending yourself against check fraud charges
Check fraud is a white-collar crime that comes with serious penalties. Therefore, it is important to vigorously fight check fraud charges.
There are various defenses to check fraud. Proving fraud requires proving intent. The prosecution must prove that you intended to defraud someone by your actions.
Other potential defenses include consent or lack of knowledge. You may have honestly believed you were allowed to sign or cash a check, or you might not have known that a check was counterfeit.
The strength of any defense depends on the specific facts of each case. The criminal process can also be complex and intimidating, so it is important to have professional help.