Check fraud involves the use of deceit or misinformation in order to authorize a check that is not real, or to gain unlawful access to checking account funds. This can happen in many ways, including:
- Printing fake checks
- Forging the signature on another person’s check
- Using fake ID to authorize a check
- Deceiving another person using false information regarding the check
- Using multiple accounts to manipulate checking account amounts (known as "check kiting")
Are There Any Check Fraud Defenses?
Various legal defenses may be available in a check fraud case. Many of these of course will depend on the exact situation, and may require varying degrees of proof. One example of a check fraud defense is that of coercion or duress. If a person is forced to commit check fraud under the threat of economic loss or actual physical injury, this can serve as a defense. An example of this where a person is forced to sign a check fraudulently.
Another example of a defense is that of lack of intent. As with many other types of crimes, the defendant must act intentionally to deceive another person in order to be found guilty of check fraud. Thus, if they acted accidentally, or lacked the requisite intention, it may serve as a defense in their case.
How Is Check Fraud Proven?
Check fraud can be proven using a number of means. In many cases, the actual check itself serves as proof of the fraud, especially for cases involving fake checks or forged signatures. In other cases, it may be more difficult to prove check fraud, especially in cases involving digital accounts and electronic transfers.
Bank records can often be consulted when proving check fraud. Tracing account activity may be needed in some cases, which may require the input of an expert witness.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Check Fraud Claims?
Check fraud is a serious offense and can lead to severe legal penalties. It’s in your best interests to hire a criminal lawyer if you need help with a legal claim involving check fraud. Your attorney can review the laws to see how they apply to your case. Also, your lawyer will be able to provide you with legal advice and guidance as they represent you during trial.