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What to do if You Have Been Charged with Larceny by Check

There are a wide range of offenses that fall under the broad category of white collar crime, including large-scale fraud, such as embezzlement or extortion. However, some of the most commonly charged white collar crimes involve larceny, specifically larceny by check. Larceny by check is a phrase used to describe the specific crime of obtaining goods or services by paying with a check despite having the knowledge that there are insufficient funds in an account to cover the purchase.

Unfortunately, in their zeal to prosecute offenders, the government often accuses innocent people of these types of fraud-based crimes, which can have devastating consequences for those who are convicted. Having the advice of an attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of this kind of case, so if you have been charged with larceny by check or another theft-related crime, it is critical to speak with an experienced white collar crime attorney who can help you formulate a defense.

Defining Larceny by Check

Before a person can be convicted of committing larceny by check, prosecutors must demonstrate that:

  • The defendant wrote, passed, or cashed a check;
  • The defendant obtained funds, services, or property as a result;
  • When the defendant wrote or cashed the check, he or she knew that there were insufficient funds on deposit or credit with which to pay it; and
  • The defendant intended to defraud the financial institution that accepted the check.

Under state law, a person cannot be convicted of this offense unless he or she intended to defraud the bank or another person at the time that the check was written, delivered, or cashed. However, when a person passes a bad check, a court will presume that the defendant was aware that there were not enough funds to cover the payment. The only exception to this rule is in cases where the accused pays the entire amount owed within 15 days of discovering that it bounced. Furthermore, a person cannot be charged with passing a worthless check when the person receiving the check knew, had reason to believe, or had been expressly notified that the payor did not have enough funds to ensure payment.

The penalties faced by those who are convicted of this offense depend in large part on the amount that was allegedly stolen. For example, those accused of fraudulently writing a check for less than $150 will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison. However, if the check is in an amount that exceeds $150, a defendant’s charge could be increased to a third degree felony, which can have much more serious consequences, including a five year prison sentence.

Contact Our White Collar Crime Legal Team Today

Please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at (305) 670-9919 if you have been charged with larceny by check or a similar crime. A member of our legal team is standing by and eager to address your questions and concerns.


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