If a check is cashed that a stop payment was put on, what can happen?

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If a check is cashed that a stop payment was put on, what can happen?

I cashed my paycheck at my bank, took the cash and spent it. The check came back to my bank with a stop payment on it. What is my legal responsibility If I don’t pay back the bank, what could happen to me?

Asked on October 24, 2010 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you don't pay the bank, you could almost certainly be sent to collections and/or sued. You owe the bank the money--you took money from them based on a check, but then the check wasn't paid. Regardless of whether or not you may have a claim or cause of action against your employer (e.g. if they improperly stopped it), the fact is, the bank has to get it's money. That can happen from you returning the money to the bank; or the employer providing the money to the bank (e.g. releasing the stop pay)--but someone has to put the money back in. Otherwise, since you took money to which you are not entitled, the bank could take steps to get it back--including, potentially, suing you.

Note that if there is evidence you passed a check knowing it would be stopped, that intention could theoretically give rise to criminal liability, too.


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