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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Certification of Checks Fraud Charges: Here’s How a White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Help

By Spodek Law Group | October 20, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 04:46 pm


Certification of Checks Fraud Charges: Here’s How a White Collar Crimes Lawyer Can Help

Getting charged with check fraud can be scary. You may be facing criminal charges, fines, and even jail time. But don’t panic – a good white collar crimes lawyer can help. In this article, we’ll break down what check certification fraud is, what the charges and penalties are, and how an experienced attorney can defend you.

What is Check Certification Fraud?

Check certification fraud is when someone falsely certifies a check to try to deposit or cash it. This means they’re lying about having enough funds to cover the check. Some common ways people commit check certification fraud include:

  • Signing the back of a check with a phrase like “certified funds” or “guaranteed funds” when they know their account doesn’t have enough money to cover the check
  • Altering a check to make it look certified when it’s not
  • Depositing a check into an account and then withdrawing the funds before the check bounces, essentially stealing the money

Prosecutors take check fraud charges seriously because it’s a type of larceny – wrongfully taking money or property from someone else.

What Are the Charges and Penalties?

If you’re accused of check certification fraud, you may face criminal charges like:

  • Larceny
  • Check fraud
  • Forgery
  • Uttering a false document
  • Identity theft

The penalties vary based on how much money was involved and your criminal history, but can include:

  • Probation or community service
  • Restitution to pay back victims
  • Fines up to $5,000 per charge
  • Jail time – for example, under NY law check fraud over $3,000 is a felony with up to 7 years in prison

As you can see, being convicted can disrupt your life and livelihood. So fighting the charges is critical.

How Can a White Collar Crimes Lawyer Defend Against Check Certification Fraud?

An experienced white collar crimes attorney can thoroughly investigate the charges and build strategic defenses to avoid conviction. Here are some of the ways they can help:

Examine the Evidence

Your lawyer will closely inspect all the evidence, including the allegedly fraudulent checks, bank records, and statements from witnesses or investigators. They may find problems like:

  • The check was altered after you signed it
  • Someone else’s fingerprints or handwriting on the check
  • Checks cashed by an identity thief using your name
  • Bank errors like double depositing a check

This can show the check fraud was committed by someone else without your knowledge.

Negotiate with the Prosecutor

Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to get charges reduced or even dismissed. This depends on the strength of the evidence and your criminal history. For a first-time offender accused of a low-level check fraud, the prosecutor may agree to drop the charges in exchange for community service or restitution.

Mount an Affirmative Defense

A top-notch white collar crimes lawyer will explore affirmative defenses that could defeat the charges, like:

  • Mistake of fact – you had a good faith mistaken belief that the check was certified or your account balance was higher
  • Duress – you were coerced into committing the fraud under threat of harm
  • Insanity – a mental condition kept you from understanding the wrongfulness of your actions

While these can be hard to prove, a skilled attorney may get charges dismissed pre-trial by showing the defense likely applies.

Negotiate a Plea Deal

If the evidence is strong and no defenses are viable, your lawyer may negotiate a favorable plea bargain with reduced charges and/or sentencing recommendations. This avoids the risk and expense of trial.

Defend You at Trial

As a last resort, your lawyer can defend you before a judge or jury at trial. They will cross-examine witnesses, object to evidence, and argue to create reasonable doubt about your guilt. If convicted, they can advocate for leniency in sentencing.

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