Bad Check Enforcement Program works for restitution, while helping offenders avoid court system

By on October 5, 2009

COUNTY—Merchants who have been victimized by a bad check as payment for goods or services in Kane County have a means to collect payment for the amount of the check.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Check Enforcement Program can help you recover funds on checks that have been refused by your bank. The program is open to anyone who receives a bad check in Kane County. It operates at no cost to you or to taxpayers, helps you and your business avoid bad checks in the first place, and it helps bad check writers avoid future bad checks.

In addition, it helps keep nonviolent offenders out of the court system, thereby keeping down additional costs to taxpayers. To avoid prosecution, bad check writers must fulfill the conditions of the program. The first condition is to make full restitution to the victims, as well as pay all costs incurred as a result of the bad check. Bad check writers also must pay the fees required to administer the program and complete an educational program.

The program also includes a prevention component. For example, the program will provide merchants with free information and materials to help them avoid bad checks in the first place. The program guidelines detail how to handle all checks—but especially bad checks—so the state’s attorney can pursue them, should it come to that.

As a final requirement of the program, bad check writers must complete an educational course that teaches them to better manage their finances.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has had a bad check restitution program since 1999. In that time, an average of about 7,000 checks has been processed through the program each year and several million dollars in restitution has been returned to merchants.

Merchants or individuals who have received a bad check should call 1-888-616-6478, or visit www.hotchecks.net/kane for information, or to register and download forms.

“In these days of tightening budgets, I believe that assisting merchants in recovering losses has attained an even greater importance,” Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti said. “This program keeps these cases out of the court system, gets the merchants their money and educates the offender, all at no cost to the county taxpayers—a true win/win for all involved.”