What to do regarding a check fraud allegation?

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What to do regarding a check fraud allegation?

Someone I thought was a friend signed a check and had me fill the rest out. The check was for cleaning services that I provided and money that was owed to me from a bar tab that he walked out on one night. I deposited into my bank account and cleared. Now several weeks later, the signer of the check has claimed that I stole the check and that he didn’t authorize the amount. It’s basically his word against mine. I have a witness to prove he did hand me a check to fill in. However, he’s already claiming that he went to the police and filed a report and that I’ve committed felonies. I haven’t been contacted by the police yet and I’m not sure if he’s bluffing or serious. The signature on the check was his and I’m sure was/can be authenticated by his bank. I never had access to his banking information, checks, anything of that nature. He’s said that he won’t press charges if I pay the money back but isn’t that an admission of guilt and the money is gone. I didn’t take anything he didn’t authorize. How do I go about this? How do I know if a police report was even filed?

Asked on June 5, 2019 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Repaying the money is not an admission of criminal guilt: you can repay money which you owe due to a mistake, for example, rather than a crime. So you could repay this money and then sue him (e.g. in small claims court) for any amounts he owes you. That may be the best course, since even if you could prove this was his signature, that doesn't prove that you did not steal the check  (you may have taken one he signed but had not gotten to filling out fully) or did not deliberately fill out the check for more than you were entitled to or he agreed to pay; therefore, repaying the check and suing him takes the threat of criminal action off the table. 
You can file an information request with the appropriate police precinct or district for any police reports filed against you within a certain time period. You can get information on how to do so from the police.


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