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When Is Check Fraud a Felony?

Sep 14 2020, by Sean Hessler in Fraud, Legal Blog

Fraud refers to any time you purposefully deceive someone for financial gain. Check fraud is specificaly using checks to commit the fraud. Some common types of check fraud are:

  • Forgery – Signing a check without authorization or endorsing a check not payable
  • Theft – Stealing checks to use for fraud
  • Paper hanging – Writing checks on closed accounts or ordering and, then, writing checks on closed accounts
  • Check kiting – Intentionally gaining access to funds in one account before the bank collects them from another
  • Washing – Remove someone else’s information from a check
  • Counterfeiting – Illegally printing checks

If you or a loved one have been charged with check fraud in Indianapolis, you need an experienced check fraud lawyer to mount a strong defense. Indiana punished theft and fraud harshly, but check fraud lawyer Sean Hessler understands how important it is to reduce the charges or have them dismissed altogether.

To speak with an experienced defense attorney in Indianapolis, contact Hessler Law at (317) 886-8800 to schedule a free and confidential case consultation. Let him review the circumstances, explain your options, and how to deal with check fraud charges the right way.

Felony Check Fraud in Indiana

Check fraud in Indiana can either be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

One of the main elements in a check fraud case is establishing your intent. Essentialy, to convict someone of fraud, the prosecution must show that they intended to deceive others by writing a bad check.

The Value of the Check Matters

The following are felony check fraud crimes in Indiana:

  • Level 6 Felony – The check was over $750 but less than $50,000
  • Level 5 Felony – The check was over $50,000

If convicted of a Level 6 felony, you face up to two and a half years in prison and fines reaching $10,000. For a Level 5 felony, check fraud is punishable by up to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Restitition & Living with a Fraud Conviction

In addition to the typical penalties for check fraud, like time in prison and thousands, you may also be required to pay restitution to any victims. Depending on what you allegedly took, these fees can add up fast and take years to repay. So it’s important to retain the counsel as soon as possible after being charged with this offense.

But even after you serve your sentence and pay any restitution, your punishment will likely not end. Living with a fraud conviction will make finding a good job next to impossible, especially if you are looking for work that involves handling money.

How to Defend Against Felony Check Fraud

Since prosecutors and police often pursue check fraud aggressively, your check fraud attorney will need to begin working on your case immediately. Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that may help or result in a favorable result like reducing the matter to a misdemeanor or getting the case dismissed.

While each fraud case is different, some of the most successful defenses include:

  • You Lacked Intend. Your intent to commit fraud must be proven in order for a conviction to take place. Perhaps you wrote a check thinking that you had sufficient money in your account, but you accidentally miscalculated. An accident is not criminal
  • Someone Else Wrote the Check. It’s very common for people to write checks using someone else’s checking account while not having permission from the account owner. If it’s a misunderstanding, we can explain this in a way that protects your interests.
  • You Wrote a Bad Check Under Duress. People sometimes force others to write checks. These cases do not constitute intent since intent cannot be shown when you acted under force or threat of force.

How A Check Fraud Lawyer Can Help

Check fraud allegations are serious and convictions are permanent. If you’re found guilty, a check fraud felony can result in years in prison and staggering fines.

To prevent a conviction and protect yourself, you need an attorney who understands how fraud is prosecuted, where to find errors in the case, and what it takes to successfully argue on your behalf. Hessler Law knows how fraud charges can impact your life, and we have years of experience helping clients through complicated legal matters. To get the best possible outcome so you can move on after a check fraud allegation, call Sean Hessler as soon as possible.

For a free consultation, contact us today at (317) 886-8800.