Passing a bad check is a serious offense in Washington County. The Washington County Attorney’s Office will aggressively pursue those who write bad checks.
There is no cost to someone who needs to prosecute a cold check. The program aids local merchants and individuals for the losses they suffer from accepting bad checks.
If you have been given a cold check, please bring a copy of the check to our office. A letter will be sent to the person who wrote the cold check and they will have 10 days from the date our letter is sent to deposit cash, a bank check or money order at one of the Springfield State Bank branches located in Washington County. Advent, a private vendor who we contract with, will then reimburse the merchant for any funds recovered. If the check writer does not pay within ten (10) days of the date on the letter, criminal charges may be taken against the check writer.
A merchant may charge a fee for its time and efforts in dealing with cold checks. You must post in a conspicuous place in your store that you charge for cold checks. You may pick up a sticker from our office.
Copies of checks may be brought into the office, mailed or faxed to 859-336-3926 or you may email your scanned checks to our office.
Merchants may charge a fee for a returned check. KRS 514.040 (4) (b). You must give notice of your policy of charging this amount in a conspicuous place, usually by posting a sticker that is provided by the County Attorney.
How are the fees collected and who pays for them?
The check writer pays with a deposit slip that is sent to them with their letter. The merchant will be reimbursed by Advent. The merchant will receive the amount of its check and the merchant fee.
If someone forges the account holder’s name, the account holder cannot be prosecuted for a cold check. The person who made the check would be prosecuted for forgery and theft by deception. For this reason, it is very important that persons taking checks verify the identity of the person from whom they are taking a check.
*Have “pre-approved” check cashing lists where persons wishing to pay you by check have filled out an application and you have verified the information on the application and DO NOT TAKE CHECKS FROM ANYONE NOT ON THE LIST!
Always verify the identity of the person presenting the check by photo i.d.;
Make certain that the person standing in front of you is the account holder;
Get a current address and telephone number;
Obtain a social security number, drivers’ license number and date of birth;
If you know who presented the check (i.e. video or eyewitness familiar with the check writer) please contact law enforcement to report.
The types of checks this office cannot prosecute:
- Payment on account
- Signature not on file
- Stop payment
* Keep the original check as the check writer can request his/her check returned to them upon payment of the check.
- When the writer goes to court, most will enter a plea agreement to repay the check.
- Advent, a private vendor who we contract with, will forward your money once the writer pays it.
- Sometimes, a judge may allow the writer additional time to repay the check.
–From photo identification:
- SS Number — Required for summons in some counties (Jefferson)
- Driver’s license number
- Date of Birth
- Good address (a PO Box is not sufficient)
- Employee information on who accepted check
- Timely presentation of checks to County Attorney
(b) If you are not the person who took the check, find out who did. We need the actual clerk who took the check to testify in court as to the procedures s/he followed.
(c) If you have a videotape of the transaction and you are subpoenaed, please let us know as soon as possible.