Bad Check Unit
Lieutenant Juan Diaz
Bad Check Unit Closing
Since 1993 the Butte County District Attorney's Bad Check Unit has recovered and returned to local merchants over $4.6 million in bad check losses. The accompanying fees, paid by the bad check writers, covered the cost of the unit, ensuring this program continued at no cost to Butte County tax payers. It was, by any measurement, a successful service provided to local businesses. However, over the past several years the unit's ability to support itself has diminished far below its operating cost. With the advent of immediate electronic funds transfer, increased acceptance of credit/debit cards and private check guarantee services, the number of checks received by the bad check unit has declined considerably. At its height, the Bad Check Unit received on average more than 500 new checks per month. We now receive approximately 75 checks per month. The decline of checks directly affects fees which offset the cost of the unit. Regrettably, the Butte County District Attorney's Bad Check Unit will stop accepting new checks April 30, 2015. The unit will continue to operate with its current staffing until June 30, 2015. At that point, the Butte County District Attorney's Financial Crimes Division will manage the remaining collection and payment process on the few remaining open cases. In the meantime, all merchants should evaluate their individual policies on check acceptance. Options include referring bad check writers to private collection services, calling local law enforcement on checks over $950.00 or to discontinue accepting checks as a form of payment. It is with great reluctance and sadness that I take this action, but the financial realities of a more modern banking system and a lack of prosecutorial resources forces this move. Thank you for your understanding. Please pass this information onto your membership. Very truly yours, Michael L. Ramsey District Attorney
For More Information Call: (530) 538-7089 or write:
Butte County District Attorney
Bad Check Unit
3-B County Center Drive
Oroville, CA 95965
Michael L. Ramsey
The true costs of crime are often hidden. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the problem of bad checks. Bad Checks cost everyone money. Businesses in Butte County lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each year as a result of these bad checks. When businesses are forced to raise prices to cover such losses, we, the consumers, bear the cost of this criminal activity. In an effort to stop the bad check writer, return money to the victim and, whenever possible, rehabilitate the offender, my office has developed the Bad Check Restitution/Prosecution Unit. This Unit, staffed by attorneys, investigators and clerical support, vigorously pursues restitution owed to victims of bad checks and offers the bad check writer an alternative to prosecution. Those who do not, or will not, respond to incentives provided by the program and who have violated the bad check laws will be prosecuted.
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Bad Check Unit vs Collection Agencies
How to Check ID
Following these steps can provide a high level of confidence in accepting personal and payroll checks. Always insist on identification. Either California drivers license, California ID card or Military ID.
- Compare signatures. This is more of an art than science but once you do it a few times, recognizing inconsistent handwriting becomes reasonably accurate. Ask your customer to provide their CDL. Hold the check above or below the license. If not similar, ask for another form of picture/signature ID.
- Compare the picture. While the license is out, look at the picture and at the customer. You would be surprised how often this simple task is not done.
- Review the check! Make sure the information on the check matches the information on the identification. The check must have a current address, phone number, Driverís License Number and the acceptorís initials.
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