bad check restitution program (BCRP) is a program in the United States that works to retrieve funds from bad check writers in order to repay moneys owed to the recipients of the checks . In other words, these are debt collection operations. Many of these programs are operated by private companies that add fees that may exceed $ 200, regardless of the amount of the check. They call these operations “bad check enforcement,” or “bad check restitution,” or “bad check diversion.” Sometime, these programs are actually run in house by real prosecutors . The private companies send check writers letters which state basically, that to avoid being prosecuted, The check writer may enroll in an expensive diversion program. In most instances, the prosecution is the only way to pay for high fees.

In the United States of America, a very limited number of municipalities are permitted to collect records in the district attorney’s name. About half of all the states offer some kind of Bad Check Restitution Program, and these services vary in many ways. Some accept non-sufficient funds (NSF), [1] and closed account checks while others may accept stopped payment checks and markers. It is also possible to have a check-in at the check-out time of the check-out time of the check-out time. A request for payment in a specified time). Some will not accept checks that were written under certain circumstances, Including a post-dated check , one that the check writer asked the recipient to hold, or one that was written as an extension of credit. [2]

Methods

A Bad Check Diversion Program Generally pursues the bad check writer by Stating (Typically from the local District Attorney ‘s Office) que le check writer HAS committed a criminal act, and is subject to prosecution . The check writer is told that he / she may not be able to take part in any of the proceedings of the program. Check writer’s habits.

Typically, the letters are sent to the check writer without a prosecutor. These are highly automated transactions in which large retailers and collectives transmit masses of computer data directly to the private company that is trying to collect the check, using the prosecutor’s name and authority. Generally, enrollment in the program is not an admission of guilt to a crime, and will not result in criminal charges. The check writer is told that if he / she is successfully complete, he / she will be able to carry out any kind of arrest, criminal charges or a record thereafter.

Bad Check Restitution Programs compete directly with private collection agencies. They claim that they can recover more successfully from private collection agencies, because they have “the power of the DA brand.” They help businesses throughout the United States. Most Prosecutor’s offices are free to taxpayers (ie bad check collection is funded by fees paid by bad check writers).

Criticism of BCRPs

According to law enforcement agencies and district attorneys , BCRPs are diversion programs operated by the county, state or other jurisdiction that are responsible for collecting funds owed to victims citation needed ] . They claim the purpose of taking the losses of the victims.

Many consumer advocates oppose the actions of BCRPs, especially those operated by private, for-profit corporations, stating that the check is actually a defraud the recipient. The writer of the bad check is told that the use of the program is optional, but is falsely threatened that the options are to participate, or risk going to jail . The writer is not responsible for the contents of this site.

Sometimes the program is handled internally by the law enforcement agency itself, which often generates a portion of its overall budget from the check fees that it collects citation needed ] . In many cases, the law enforcement agency signs up with a private collection agency . The private company essentially pays the law enforcement agency to a small portion of the fees it collects in exchange for permission to send demands on law enforcement agency letterhead and to threaten to prosecute checkers who do not pay up to $ 200 in Check itself. The check writer ‘s office,

[3] [4] [5] [6] In 2013 in Massachusetts, the prosecutors who used these programs suspended their operations when they were unfair, unethical, predatory and possibly illegal. Boston Globe Investigation. [7] In November 2014, the American Bar Association issued a Formal Opinion, finding that it was unethical for prosecutors to allow these companies to use prosecutor letterhead, because it was “abusive” to convey System has been mobilized “against the consumer, who is led to believe that he can face the jail time unless the collector gets paid. [8]

Lawsuits against BCRPs

In most states, the check writer knows what he is going to do and what he does not know. Criminal intent may be determined by circumstantial evidence, such as an established pattern of writing and checks. The check writer’s explanation for the fact that it was a criminal intent.

A number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the legality of these programs. In a lawsuit in Iowa, the check diversion of money to class members. [9] A federal court in Michigan ruled that the private company was violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by using district attorney letterhead and falsely threatening consumers with arrest. [10] A federal court in Sacramento, California ruled that the person who ran the private company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and California law by charging unlawful fees, pretending to be the district attorney’s office and making false threats to have check writers arrested ., [11] and later awarded about $ 750,000 in damages. A federal court in San Jose, This article is available in: English (en) [fr] [de] [en] [fr] [en] [fr] [en] [fr] [en] With check writers, and by falsely claiming that writers who did not pay those fees would be prosecuted. [12] After a trial in which both the plaintiffs and defendants complained about the verdict, the judge in the case vacated the parties later settled for an undisclosed sum. In another California case, the federal court in San Francisco approved a $ 3,250,000 settlement. [13] In 2014, a new lawsuit was filed against Washington, Alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Washington Consumer Protection Act. [14] In December 2014, consumers filed a lawsuit against Corrective Solutions in California. [15] Then, in March 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against the National Corrective Group, Inc. and related entities, and obtained an order of prohibiting these companies from masquerading as the prosecutor and making phony prosecution threats. [16] Inc. and related entities, and obtained a consent order prohibiting these companies from masquerading as the prosecutor and making phony prosecution threats. [16] Inc. and related entities, and obtained a consent order prohibiting these companies from masquerading as the prosecutor and making phony prosecution threats. [16]

See also

  • Shared Check Authorization Network
  • ChexSystems
  • Check fraud

References

  1. Jump up^ “NSF Fees” . Permanent dead link ]
  2. Jump up^ LA Crime Report07.pub Archived2007-09-27 at theWayback Machine.
  3. Jump up^ Prosecutors, Debt Collectors Find a Partner,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/business/in-prosecutors-debt-collectors-find-a-partner.html?_r=2&smid=pl -share &
  4. Jump up^ Checkmate-Check Collectors and Prosecutors Terrorize Consumers,http://www.ocweekly.com/2013-01-24/news/corrective-solutions-san-clemente-orange-county-district-attorney/
  5. Jump up^ DA’s Letters to Debt Collectors Raise Ethical Questions,http://www.calbarjournal.com/November2012/EthicsByte.aspx
  6. Jump up^ Bounced Checks: How Local District Attorneys Get a Cut of the Debt Collection Businesshttps://www.propublica.org/article/bounced-checks-how-local-das-get-a-cut-of-the -debt-collection-business
  7. Jump up^ Facing Questions, DAs Suspend Outsourcing of Bad Check Cases,http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/13/das-discontinue-third-party-check-program/BS1msBY6hHTSfBcN2NfyWO/story.html
  8. Jump up^ ABA Issues Formal Ethics Opinion on Prosecutors Who Rent Out Their Letterhead to Debt Collectors,http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/2014/11/aba-issues-formal-ethics-opinion-on-prosecutors-who -rent-out-their-letterhead-to-debt-collectors.html
  9. Jump up^ Liles c. American Corrective Counseling, Inc.
  10. Jump up^ Gradisher c. Check Enforcement Unit, Inc., 210 F. Supp. 2d 907 (WD Mich. 2002),
  11. Jump up^ Schwarm c. Craighead, 552 F. Supp. 2d 1056 (ED Cal. 2008)
  12. Jump up^ Del Campo c. Am. Corrective Counseling Serv., 718 F. Supp. 2d 1116 (ND Cal. 2010)
  13. Jump up^ Smith v. Levine Leitchman Capital Partners, et al. Civ. No. 10-0010 (ND Cal.) And Shouse v. National Corrective Group, Inc., Civ. No. 10-0175
  14. Jump up^ Cavnar c. Bounceback, Inc., Civ. No. 2: 14-cv-0235 (ED WA) See also,http://q13fox.com/2014/07/31/shady-collection-company-agency-teams-up-with-prosecutors-office-harasses- Struggling-mother-for-cash /.
  15. Jump up^ Breazeale c. Victim Services, Inc., et al. Civ. No. 3: 14-cv-05266 (ND Cal).
  16. Jump up^ See CFPB press release,http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-takes-action-against-bad-check-debt-collector/.