Cold Check Enforcement Program

Each year Pendleton County merchants and citizens lose thousands of dollars due to receiving bad checks. Over 8,000 bad checks are written per day in Kentucky. This loss to businesses is often referred to as “shrinkage” and it raises the cost of goods and services to the citizens of Pendleton County. At best, it is a costly and time-consuming problem for our merchants. At worst, it can have a devastating affect on a small business. Issuing a worthless check is a crime.

In an effort to address this problem, the Pendleton County Attorney’s Office administers a cold check program. The County Attorney’s Bad Check Program can help you collect payment for bad checks at no cost to you. All fees are paid by the check writer. In order to avoid prosecution, the offender must pay the check, plus pay a $50.00 fee to cover the merchant’s expenses incurred because of the bad check. The writer also pays our office a fee to help administer the program and cover the cost of preparing and mailing the notice. These bad check payments are to be made to our office only (NOT TO THE MERCHANT). After the check and all fees are paid in full, our office will issue a check to the person or business that received the bad check.

Because it is a pre-trial program, it helps keep down the costs of the judicial system. Also, it benefits the check writer by allowing the payment of the check without criminal charges. However, if the check writer does not make restitution in a timely fashion, prosecution will begin. Once prosecution is initiated the case will not be dismissed and the check writer must either plead guilty or the matter is scheduled for a trial.

The goal of the Bad Check Program is to get full payment for the bad checks you or your business receives

For more information or to become a participant of the program, please contact our office at 859-654-3180.

In accordance with Kentucky law, the following are the types of checks that qualify for the Bad Check Program:

  • Checks stamped by the bank ACCOUNT CLOSED, NO ACCOUNT, UNABLE TO LOCATE and NONSUFFICIENT FUNDS (NSF).
  • For checks returned REFER TO MAKER, HELD FUNDS, OVERDRAFT, NO DEBITS ALLOWED, and UNAVAILABLE FUNDS, you must have a statement from the bank showing the status of the account on the date the check was issued.
  • Checks must have a bank stamp showing presentation to the bank within 30 days of the issue date on the check.
  • Prosecution of check writers should begin as soon as possible after the check was issued.
  • The statue of limitations is one year for checks under $500 and is considered a misdemeanor. Checks over $500 are felonies and do not fall within a statute of limitations.

The following types of checks do not qualify for the Program. Under Kentucky law they cannot generally be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

  • Post-dated or held checks.
  • 2-party checks, stop-payment checks.
  • Checks for which both parties knew there were insufficient funds at the time of the transaction.
  • Check was issued as payment on a loan, as part of an agreement to pay or an open account.
  • The identity of the check writer is not known.
  • There is no amount or signature on the check.

What can you do to minimize the number of bad checks you receive or to assist us in the prosecution of a bad check? The following are some helpful reminders:

  • Identification
    1. Always ask to see the check writer’s driver’s license or state ID card. Always get official photo identification;
    2. Compare signature on ID to signature on check and compare ID photo to the check writer;
    3. Make sure you are the one who writes the driver’s license number, date of birth, race, and sex on the check, not the check writer;
    4. Verify the imprinted check address with the address on the ID;
    5. Never accept a counter check.
  • No Identification
    1. If they don’t have a driver’s license or state ID card, you should not accept the check.
    2. There is NO requirement for you to accept the check.
    3. At worst, you lose a sale, but you do not lose merchandise and get stuck with a bad check.
  • Keep Records
    1. For your purposes, it is a good idea to keep copies of checks, forms, and any correspondence to and from the check writer. Once the check has been submitted to the Bad Check Program, it may be necessary to contact you for further information about the check and check writer.