Can a collection agency for a bad check procecute you criminally or does the prosecution have to come from the vendor to whom the check was actually written?

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Can a collection agency for a bad check procecute you criminally or does the prosecution have to come from the vendor to whom the check was actually written?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Neither the vendor nor the collection agency actually prosecutes you criminally--only the state (i.e. the prosecutor's office) does that. However, either the vendor or the collection agency can refer the matter  to the police and/or prosecutor if they think there was a crime, such as the deliberate passing of a bad check; if the authorities agree that there may have been a crime, they may choose to investigate and/or prosecute. Since the actual prosecution comes from the authorites, other parties are in essence only witnesses, bringing the matter to the authorities' attention--and anyone with an awareness of a potential crime may do so. (So, for example, a bank could report a bad check, too.)


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