What do I do if I accidentally tried to cash a fraudelent check? 31 Answers as of July 12, 2013

I received a check in the mail a few weeks ago and I didn’t pay much attn to it. Found it last Friday and saw the amount was for 8 thousand so being as though I was broke I went to my bank and tried to cash it. Come to find out the check was fraud and I didn’t have enough money to cover the return fee of 15 dollars so they slapped a 35 overdraft fee on top of that. I just figured the check was some workers comp money from my job accident a few months ago. Guess I was wrong. Now what should I do?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You will have to pay the overdraft fees associated with the check. If the check was fraudulent you can always turn it over the police for investigation. Next time, don't cash a check unless you are expecting it and you know that it is legit.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Do? Nothing unless charged with a crime and arrested. Then, hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. No amount of free 'tips and hints' from here or anywhere else are going to effectively help you in your defense, other than the advice to exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/31/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
I would keep my mouth shut about this and meet with an attorney. You could, at some point, be charged with possession of a forged instrument or uttering a forged instrument, both of which are felony offenses.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/31/2011
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
Have you been charged with anything?
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/12/2013
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
From what you say, you had no idea the check was a fraud. I doubt seriously that you are in any kind of trouble with the law. you need to be careful, there are a lot of scams through the internet, and that is how you might have gotten caught up in this mess in the first place. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to regain the money the bank charged you as an overdraft fee, unless you can track down the maker or issuer of the check. If you do, contact the police to report the fraud.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You state that you received an $8,000 check that you assumed was from a workman's compensation case you had a few months ago. You tried to cash the check and found out that it was fraudulent. I suspect that you are not telling me the truth. It is unlikely that you thought the check was a workman's compensation check and you probably just tried to cash a check to make some easy money. I could be wrong, you could be stupid enough to not know what you are doing, but then who would send you a fraudulent check for $8,000? Unless you were in on the fraud they could not have benefited from cashing the check. If it was a fraudulent check for that large amount then someone made it and you cashed it. The bank saw through it instantly because you and your accomplice have no clue what you were doing. I could be wrong, but I think you were very well aware that the check was no good and were trying to commit a crime and were caught. People often try to lie to their lawyer, the police, and others because they think everyone is as stupid as they are. Lawyers will ask you about 20 questions to determine the truth. They will look at your demeanor, your attitude, they way you answer the questions, and whether you hesitate or know the answer immediately. If your answers do not make sense then you are lying, if it seems like you are lying the lawyer will explain to you that they cannot help you if you persist in lying because he needs to know the truth if he is going to help you. If you want to tell me the truth and have a few thousand dollars feel free to call me for a consultation. Otherwise you can tell your story to a public defender. He won't have the time to find out the truth and the truth. He will ask if you are guilty and you will tell him that you are innocent, you had no idea the check was fraudulent. You will tell him that it was a workman's compensation check even though it is not from that agency, even though it is a weekly wages check that is usually for $800 but that this one is for $8,000, an amount that is so out of line for a paycheck that the teller know immediately that the idiot standing before her was trying to cash a bogus paycheck. She would not recognize you because you did not go to the bank that you usually cash your checks at. You probably went to a bank where you did not even have an account. Everyone except you was certain that you were trying to cash a bogus check. If I am wrong, I apologize, you did not provide me with enough details to properly access the situation, but I still think that your story does not make sense and therefor you are not telling the truth. Good Luck. I doubt you can afford my services since you did not get the $8,000. If you are able to get another check cashed feel free to call me for an $8,000 consultation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Do not discuss with anybody. If you end up being charged get an attorney. Based on lack of funds you will probably qualify for a public defender.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    The District Attorney would have to prove you knew the check was fake. They would also have to show you intended to defraud the bank. If you had no idea they should not be able to convict you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Before you do another thing, do not discuss this situation with anyone; especially the bank or the cops. What I would do is immediately pay your bank off. The only thing you should say to them is I understand that the check was dishonored and you want to take care of the fees. Don't apologize. Don't utter the words "fraud" or "fake" or any other word meaning fake or fraud. If the cops contact you do not speak to them other than to say you are remaining silent and wish to speak with an attorney. Make arrangements to have a competent attorney on retainer and standing by to handle the cops. As a former prosecutor I can tell you that half of the people in prison would be free right now if they had remained silent instead of wanting to "Tell their side of the story." Save that for your attorney and give the authorities stone silence. If you wish to retain my services, please contact me at one of the numbers below. Remember, remain silent and let your lawyer tell your side of the story.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    You should do nothing other than find a way to cover any bank fees. Make no statements to bank employee or the police about the matter without a lawyer. At this point, if they intend to charge you, you will be advised by a complaint in the mail.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    If there was no criminal intent, then usually you will not face criminal charges. You may be fortunate to only owe the bank charges. You should consult with an attorney to be sure.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You will most likely be responsible to the bank for your NSF fee. You could attempt to file a claim in small claims court against the individual who mailed you the check to attempt to recover the fee after the fact. It is unlikely that you would be entitled to the $8,000 amount but you could file a police report about the fraud and attempt to press charges against the person who mailed the check.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You did not commit a fraud if it were an accident. The problem you now may have is that since you deposited the check the scammers now have your checking account number. I would shut that account down forthwith and open a new checking account. Forget about the fees it was a $50.00 lesson to pay more attention next time.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    I think I would need some additional information about the check (who it was from, who it was made out to, etc) before I can answer this question.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    For starters, come up with 50 bucks so the bank may be satisfied and not send the check to the fraud detection people (who then invariably call the cops). Assuming the fraud people contact you, don't make any statements to them and definitely don't say anything to the police! You need a lawyer asap even if there is a chance that the police start a forgery or check fraud investigation. Apparently there's some scammers out there who send out fake checks to people and usually try and get someone to cash them and then split the proceeds. This, much like the Nigerian oil minister scams, do pray on people who apparently are a bit too trusting, although if this is one of those deals they also expect that you are going to a)wanna make a quick buck and b) aren't gonna ask too many questions about where the check came from. This is going to be a problem for you since the cops are gonna think that you knew or at least should've known there was something fishy about the check (although I wish people I didn't know would send me checks in the mail, I have enough problems getting checks from people I know who OWE me money). Most fraud-type charges require that the person charged with the fraudulent act know the check or other instrument is bogus. So, in your case, you can say you thought it was for something else, but I got to say, good luck getting a detective to believe that. This is exactly why you need to lawyer up because you don't want to start talking to the cops without representation. Of course, I hope the bank just deals with it internally, but you should still talk to a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/31/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    As a general rule, you could consider paying the NSF and return fees. You may wish to retain an attorney to discuss making this payment and its impact on any criminal case BEFORE you simply make the payment. Do not construe this e-mail as giving you legal advice. You should not make any statements concerning this matter without first obtaining advice of counsel and/or having your attorney present during questioning. Hopefully you will not be charged criminally. Assuming the bank did not lose the $8,000, there is a decreased likelihood that you will be charged, however, this is in the discretion of the prosecutor's office involved. Should you be charged, you may have a difficult time proving that you honestly thought an $8,000 check was something in the ordinary course if you do not receive such checks and such amounts from the source of the check. You should discuss this with the attorney you have defending you in the criminal case. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You should talk to the bank and see if the overdraft and the NSF fee can be waived. I would also advise you stick with the story you thought it was your worker's comp money.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    It is going to be hard for anyone to believe that you cashed a check to which you were not entitle by accident. You might want to contact an attorney and attempt through him to make restitution before the police are brought into the picture.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    At this point, it seems like paying the bank fees and not complaining may be a good option. Has the matter been turned over to the police for further investigation? From your question, it does not sound like any criminal charges have been filed yet. Next time, be more careful. Most of us don't have $8,000 checks laying around the house that we don't know where they came from. Like the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would suggest that you consult with a criminal attorney in your community about your rights and options, including the right to remain silent and ask for an attorney, if questioned by the police. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Steven C. Bullock
    Has anyone told you that you are facing criminal charges? Is anyone out any money? What you did was "dumb" but not certain it was criminal with the information provided.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    It doesn't sound like there is a criminal complaint against you. If there is, you should not speak to the police. Hire a lawyer, or get a public defender, and have the communicate with the police. In the meantime, you should pay the fees that you owe so your situation does not get worse and don't cash any more checks you are not sure about.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    If all that happens to you is you're out fifty bucks, don't worry about it. It's a stroke of bad luck, but you'll never find the one who made the fraudulent check to try to get it back. Don't talk to anyone about it, including the bank or the police. If you're charged with a crime, the court will appoint a lawyer, but I doubt you'll be charged.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    You need to retain an attorney. Who doesn't pay attention to an $8000 check ? Did you ever use that money? Get an attorney!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Komanapalli Massey LLP
    Komanapalli Massey LLP | Mark A. Massey, Esq.
    You have not indicated whether you have attracted the attention of law enforcement. If not,and if nobody is seeking reimbursement of funds expended for actually cashing the check, then you do nothing I suppose. It sounds as though you have merely suffered an overdraft fee from your bank, a rather mild lesson.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    I am not sure based on your question, but it sounds like your defense is that you did not knowingly attempt to defraud the bank out of money. Theft requires intent, and you did not intend to steal based on the facts that you posted. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    I am not sure what your question is. Your story is only a half truth and if you want an honest answer you need to be honest with the attorney you speak with. Are you worried about criminal charges, you possibly should be depending upon the real facts. Talk to a local attorney and when you do be honest with them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    It only matters that you tried to present a check that you had reason to believe wouldn't clear. It will be hard to argue that you weren't sure what an eight thousand dollar check was for. However, if you had a good faith belief that the check was valid, and if in fact the person that wrote the check duped you, you have a defense. It may require you to roll on the check-writer. \
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Try to figure out a better defense. That one is just plain silly.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
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