Office of the State Attorney

Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida

 
 
 

 


  Worthless Check Restitution Program


Our Worthless Check Restitution program is one tool in our fight against writers of bad checks. It enables us to swiftly get restitution for the victims of bad checks. This unique program requires offenders to not only pay restitution promptly, but also mandates that they complete an educational program which is specifically designed to address the violation and prevent repeat offenses.

This service is provided at no expense to those who receive the worthless checks.
 
The program is not appropriate for all offenders. Florida law gives the statutory guidelines for who is eligible for diversion. We aim to aggressively prosecute serious repeat offenders and “scam artists” who use worthless checks as part of their method of committing crimes. However, for those for whom it is appropriate, the Worthless Check Restitution Program of the State Attorney’s office secures restitution more quickly than could be obtained through the court system.

Your participation in this program will help your business. By working together we will combat the problem of worthless checks by achieving the three main goals of the Worthless Check Restitution Program: One, to obtain restitution for victims of worthless checks; Two, to increase accountability of bad check writers; and Three, to do the above without increasing the administrative or financial burden on the criminal justice system or the taxpayer.

Below are instructions on how to initiate a complaint if you receive a worthless check, as well as some tips on how to avoid getting additional Worthless Checks. The format for the 15 Day Statutory Letter, as required by Florida law, is available on this site, as well as the Worthless Check Complaint Form that may be downloaded as an Adobe .pdf file. We look forward to working together to resolve this serious problem.

IF YOU RECEIVE A WORTHLESS CHECK…

  1. Send a 15-Day Statutory Letter by certified mail with return receipt, (or by first class mail), to the check writer at the address listed on the check. If a different address was provided at the time of issuance, send to both addresses. The check writer has 15 days to respond and remit payment. This letter is not required for a check returned due to an "Account Closed" designation. The 15 Day Statutory letter may be downloaded in PDF format, by clicking here. 

  2. If you do not hear from the check writer or receive payment within the 15 days, obtain a Worthless Check Complaint Form. This form is available by calling the State Attorney’s Worthless Check Division at 239-533-1000, or by downloading the form on the State Attorney’s website.

  3. After reviewing the instructions, fill out the Worthless Check Complaint Form. Attach the original certified legal copy of the check provided by the bank as well as retain a photocopy for your records. Also attach copies of notification documents, such as your 15 day letter, affidavit of mailing, return receipts, invoices, bank notices, and rental/lease agreements. Mail all documentation to:
    State Attorney, 20th Judicial Circuit
    Worthless Check Restitution Program
    P.O. Box 399
    Fort Myers, FL  33902-0399

If you do not receive restitution within 90 days, contact the State Attorney’s Worthless Check Restitution Program at (239) 533-1000.



ELIGIBILITY…

State law limits eligibility for the program or for prosecution to those checks that meet the following criteria:

A check is Eligible if…

  • It was received in the 20th Judicial Circuit, deposited in a bank, and presumed “good” at the time of acceptance.
  • A “statutory notice” is sent to the check writer allowing 15 days to make the check good.
  • 1. The driver’s license number or state identification number, specifying the state of issuance of the person presenting the check must be written on the check; or 2. The following information regarding the identity of the person presenting the check must be obtained by the person accepting such check: The presenter’s full name, residence address, home phone number, business phone number, place of employment, sex, date of birth, and height.
A check is Ineligible if…

  • It is postdated.
  • The check has been altered.
  • Both parties knew there were insufficient funds at the time of transaction.
  • The identity of the check writer is unknown.
  • There is no amount, date, or signature on the check.
  • The check has not been deposited and processed by a bank.
  • You were asked to hold the check before depositing or cashing it.
  • Third Party Checks.
  • Stop Payment Checks.
  • Business Checks.

We strongly recommend submitting the check to the program within 90 days from the date of the check.

Checks ineligible for the State Attorney Worthless Check Resitution Program may be pursued through civil court action, or by a private collection agency, or taken to a law enforcement agency for criminal investigation.

All necessary forms may be found under the worthless check tab of the State Attorney's website.

 

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