How to Fight a Check Fraud Charge in NJ
Handling Check Fraud Charges in Bergen County Superior Court, Hackensack NJ
Under New Jersey Law, check fraud, often referred to as “issuing back checks,” can be considered a second, third, or fourth degree crime, as well as a disorderly persons offense, depending on the circumstances of the specific case.
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Check Fraud Charges in NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5
The New Jersey Criminal Code addresses the crime of check fraud or “issuing bad checks” in Statute N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5, which dictates:
A person who issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, commits an offense as provided for in subsection c. of this section. For the purposes of this section as well as in any prosecution for theft committed by means of a bad check, an issuer is presumed to know that the check or money order (other than a post-dated check or order) would not be paid, if:
a) The issuer had no account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued; or
b) Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, or due to a closed account, after a deposit by the payee into a bank for collection or after presentation to the drawee within 46 days after issue, and the issuer failed to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal or after notice has been sent to the issuer’s last known address. Notice of refusal may be given to the issuer orally or in writing in any reasonable manner by any person.
c) An offense under this section is:
1) A crime of the second degree if the check or money order is $ 75,000.00 or more;
2) A crime of the third degree if the check or money order is $ 1,000.00 or more but is less than $ 75,000.00;
3) A crime of the fourth degree if the check or money order is $ 200.00 or more but is less than $ 1,000.00;
4) A disorderly persons offense if the check or money order is less than $ 200.00.
What are the Potential Penalties Associated with a Conviction for Check Fraud?
As stated above, the potential penalties to which a given defendant may be subject depend on the degree of the charges against him or her. In New Jersey, these penalties are as follows:
° First Degree Check Fraud: term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison
° Second Degree Check Fraud : term of incarceration ranging from 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison
° Third Degree Check Fraud: term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5years in New Jersey State Prison
° Fourth Degree Check Fraud: maximum sentence of 18 months to be served in New Jersey State Prison
° Disorderly Persons Offense for Check Fraud: maximum sentence of 6 months to be served in the county jail