If I deposited a signed check I found, how much trouble am I in?

I deposited a signed check and then went to the owner of the check and told them what I did. I asked to return the money but they won’t take the money back. What kind of legal trouble am I in?

Asked on April 20, 2017 under Criminal Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You committed theft: you took money which *clearly* and obviously was not yours. Even if you later tried to return it, that does not change the fact that you took it in the first place: a crime is not "uncommitted" by undoing the damage or loss. Rather, regardless of what happens later, if a crime was committed--as it was here--a crime was committed. The other person could press charges against you. As to how severe the charges or any punishment could be: that depends on how large the check was. The severity of theft varies with the amount stolen.

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