Is writing a check and intentionally stopping payment consider a fraud?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is writing a check and intentionally stopping payment consider a fraud?

We run a piano studio and take payment a month in advance. There is a policy that students sign and it says once payment is made for a month there is no refund for unused lessons if you quit before month’s end. A parent wrote a check for a month, had a lesson once, and decided not to continue so is demanding the check that she wrote be given back. I said I will refund the rest of unused lesson but would charge for the one taken already. I wrote a check for what she paid, minus one lesson fee. She stopped payment on the check that she gave me but cashed my check. She now has my money. Is this considered a fraud?

Asked on January 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

"Fraud" depends on intent as well on actions. Depending on her intent, it *may* be fraud, though if she just erred, slipped up, didn't pay attention to the timing, etc. it would not be fraud. (Fraudulent intent involves knowingly acting bad, to oversimplify, not just making a mistake or even having a good faith dispute over what's owed and how to pay.) Even if not fraud, of course, you could sue her for what she owes you--including suing in smalll claims court, so as to reduce your costs substantially--and also for direct out of pocket costs, such as any bounced check or overdraft fees if any resulted from the timing of the transactions.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption