About the Office:
The Hot Check Division’s primary purpose is to receive complaints of theft arising from the passing of worthless checks and to develop those complaints into prosecutable cases. To help in this effort, the County Attorney’s Office provides information to merchants on the proper procedures they should use in accepting a check for payment for goods, products, or services. When proper procedures are used, the likelihood of catching the offender, obtaining restitution for the merchant, and getting a conviction against the writer of a hot check greatly increases. The Hot Check Division also conducts investigations into patterns of fraud that may be indicated by hot check schemes and offers assistance to those who may be victimized by identity theft
Tips to Use When Accepting a Check
• DATE: Checks should be dated on the same date that they are written.
• SIGNATURE: Do not accept checks that are already signed. Check writer should sign the
check in your presence.Signature should match the printed name on the check.
• COMPLETE ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBERS: This information will assist you in locating
and notifying thecheck writer if the check is worthless. P.O. Box addresses are not adequate.
• CONFIRM IDENTITY: It is essential that you obtain valid picture ID (driver’s license or ID card)
from the check writer. Verify that the ID matches the check writer. Record the ID number, race,
sex and date of birth from the ID.
• WRITTEN AMOUNTS AND NUMBERS MUST CORRESPOND: Checks with discrepancies in
amounts can not be prosecuted.
• IDENTIFY WHO ACCEPTED THE CHECK: The clerk who accepts the check should write his/her
initials on the check. It is essential that we have a witness to prove the identity of the check writer in court.
How to Present a Hot Check Complaint
• Present the check to the named bank or deposit the check into your bank account. The named bank will stamp the check indicating the reason that the check was not honored.
• File a complaint with the County Attorney's Office. Furnish the following documents:
- Original check or substitute check
- Completed and accurate Prosecution Statement
• DO NOT accept payment from the check writer after filing the complaint. Once the complaint has been filed with the County Attorney's Office, the matter is under the jurisdiction of the Courts. Direct the check writer to contact the County Attorney's Office. If payment is mailed to you after the
complaint is filed, forward the entire payment to the County Attorney's
When you file a check complaint with the County Attorney's Office, you are alleging a person committed a criminal offense. If your case goes to court and the check writer is found guilty, the
Judge will usually order the check writer to make restitution. The function of the County Attorney's Office is to prosecute persons who
have violated the law. Collection of restitution is a major goal of this office. However, there may be times when restitution cannot
be collected from the check writer and he/she is sentenced to jail.
Frequently Asked Questions
I received notice that some hot checks I wrote have been filed with the Potter County Attorney’s Office. What should I do?
You should immediately contact the County Attorney’s Office, find out
how much you owe, and make arrangements to pay the checks, the
merchant’s fee, and the County Attorney’s fee. If eligible and if you
choose to, you may be able to pay by installments. You can pay in
person, by mail, by telephone, or online. Payment must be by money
order, cashier’s check, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express.
The Hot Check Division does not accept cash or
personal checks. Do not make restitution to the merchant directly. It
will not save you.
I didn’t pay the hot checks I wrote, and now I have criminal cases filed against me. What do I do?
You should immediately contact the County Attorney’s Office. At that
time, you will be scheduled for the next available court setting, and
you will be given the amount of restitution owed. At the court setting,
you will be informed of your rights, the charges against you, and if you
choose to, a plea offer to resolve your criminal case.
OK, now that I have criminal cases filed
against me, what happens after I am arrested? If I pay restitution and
all the fees and costs, will the criminal cases be dismissed?
Your criminal case will be handled as any criminal case would be.
Under no circumstances will your criminal case be dismissed just because
you pay restitution, fees and costs. Once a criminal case is filed
against you, the Hot Check Division only collects your money while the
prosecutor assigned to your case seeks your conviction.
Can I get a list from your office of the hot checks I have written?
You can get a list of hot checks you have written that have been filed
with the County Attorney’s Office. You must appear in person and
present a state driver’s license or other official photo identification.
We will not release the information to anyone other than you or your
If hot checks I have written are filed with your Hot Check Division, will I have a criminal record if I pay the checks and fees before a criminal case is filed against me?
You will not have a criminal record for the hot checks filed with the
County Attorney’s Office if you pay those checks before a criminal case
is filed. However, merely paying the checks you owe will not necessarily
prevent a criminal case from being filed. The decision to file a
criminal case involves many factors. No one in the County Attorney’s
Office can tell you with certainty that a case will not be filed just
because you made restitution, although payment of restitution is a
factor in making that decision. All in all, you are likely to be better
off if you pay the checks and fees than you would be if you do not.
Eric Dobbs, Hot Check Division Chief
Phone: (806) 379-2255