Can I be in trouble for accepting checks that I didn’t know where stolen?

My boyfriend’s mother has been in the hospital for 2 months. He told me that she said it was OK for him to write a couple of checks to me to deposit into my bank account so that we could buy groceries and pay the bills. I now find out that she did not authorize that. She knows what he did and is not pressing charges even though it has overdrawn her account.

Asked on December 1, 2018 under Criminal Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If you truly did not know the checks were stolen (and no reason that you should have known--that is, the law does not let you hide behind willful blindness), you did not commit a crime and won't face criminal penalties. It is possible that you could be sued by the mother for the money back and any overdraft charges/penalties, since that does not require your knowledge that the checks were--it only requires that you took money to which you are not entitled.

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