Bad Check Recovery/Prosecution

Bad checks cost Louisville Metro businesses millions of dollars annually. Collecting payment for these checks is, at best, a time-consuming problem. At worst, they can be devastating to a small business and account for higher prices for goods and services. 

In certain circumstances, issuing a worthless check is a crime. The Jefferson County Attorney's Office can help you collect payment for bad checks. 

The goal is to get full payment for the bad checks your business receives.

The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office returns money to the victims of bad checks, including reasonable return check fees.  Check writers have strong motivation to cooperate to avoid prosecution.  For you, participation is easy.

For consideration of prosecution, merchants must complete the Bad Check Complaint Form (click here to download) and provide our office with a copy, front and back, of the original bank-stamped returned check. These may be emailed to [email protected], brought in person to our office, or mailed to the address below. If you prefer to bring your complaint form and documentation in person, please go to the Jefferson County Attorney's Office Warrant Intake Division located on the first floor of the address below, Suite 1150.

Jefferson County Attorney’s Office
600 West Jefferson Street
Suite 1150
Attention:  Bad Checks
Louisville, KY 40202
[email protected]
(502) 574-0961

If the check qualifies for prosecution, we will send a letter to the check writer stating that if the face value and fees are not paid within 20 days, criminal prosecution may occur. We will also direct the checkwriter to make payment to our office; such payments will then be sent to the merchant.

If payment is not received within 20 days, we will not go further WITHOUT YOUR REQUEST.  If you wish to proceed, you must call our office and request that a criminal complaint be issued. You must then come into the office and sign the complaint within two weeks.

Once the criminal complaint is served by a law enforcement officer, a pre-trial date will be set. Our office will attempt to collect the face value and fees of the check without your presence in court. However, if there is a trial, your testimony may be needed, and a subpoena will be sent for your appearance as a witness for the Commonwealth.

Payments collected from the ten-day letter or as restitution on the Theft by Deception charge (face value and fees) will be sent to you once it has cleared our accounts.

Types of Checks That Qualify for the Bad Check Recovery Program

  • For checks returned REFER TO MAKER, HELD FUNDS, OVERDRAFT, UNCOLLECTED FUNDS HOLD, NO DEBITS ALLOWED, and UNAVAILABLE FUNDS, you must have a statement from the bank showing the status of the account on the date the check was issued.
  • Checks must have a bank stamp showing presentation to the bank within 30 days of the issue date on the check.
  • Prosecution of check writers should begin as soon as possible after the check was issued.
  • The statute of limitations is one year for checks under $1,000 and is considered a misdemeanor. Checks over $1,000 are felonies and do not fall within a statute of limitations.

Types of Checks That are Ineligible for the Program

  • Post-dated or held checks
  • 2-party checks, stop-payment checks (unless merchant holds a bingo license)
  • Checks for which both parties knew there were insufficient funds at the time of the transaction.
  • Check was issued as payment on a loan, as part of an agreement to pay or an open account.
  • The identity of the check writer is not known.
  • There is no amount or signature on the check.
  • Frozen or blocked accounts
  • Checks that have P.O. Box addresses
  • Checks written on corporate/business accounts (Unless you provide verification from the Secretary of State's Office that the person who signed the check had the authority to do so).
  • Rent Checks: UNLESS you give possession of the property in exchange for the check, i.e. keys, first months rent, OR the check was written in response to a threat of eviction. In all other circumstances the rent check is considered as payment on an account and is civil in nature. You should contact the Civil District/Small Claims Division of District Court at 502-595-4475.

If your situation falls among any of the above, you still may have a remedy through civil litigation.

Helpful Tips to minimize the occurrence and impact of returned checks:

1. Always ask to see the check writer's driver's license or state ID card. Always get official photo identification;

2. Compare signature on ID to signature on check and compare ID photo to the check writer;

3. Make sure you or an employee are the one who writes the DL #, date of birth, race and sex from the DL or ID onto the check;

4. Verify that the imprinted check address and the address on the ID match;

5. Never accept a counter or temporary check;

6. Ensure that the checkwriter has authority to sign a business check;

7. Require certified/escrowed checks for large dollar transactions;

8. Keep Records:  original checks, forms, and any correspondence to and from the check writer, a list of purchasers who have presented bad checks previously.

** Please note that you will need to contact our office with any address or telephone number changes that may occur



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