One of the most prevalent and costly crimes that plague the local business community are Theft by Check. The purpose of this site is to alert you to some ways you can avoid taking hot checks, as well as to bring about some awareness as to procedures that will assist us in prosecuting the check writer if such crime is committed.
We want to help our businesses in Victoria County to succeed, and prevention of this crime is the ultimate goal. We will do everything legally possible to collect restitution due to you. Our services are free, and in addition to collecting restitution, we collect a $30 merchant fee for your trouble.
Remember… Crime Prevention begins with alert, knowledgeable citizens. Hot checks can be controlled with your help. If you have any questions, please call our Check Section. Chief Clerk, Virginia Garber, Assistant Chief Clerk, Theresa Garcia, and Investigator, ROBERT BIANCHI, will be happy to assist you.
- An individual or business writes a check and that check is returned by the bank as either “Insufficient Funds” (NSF) or “Account Closed.”
- The check was given in exchange for goods, services or cash.
- You or another employee can identify the check writer through their driver’s license or other method.
Be thorough when accepting a check as payment for anything. Your business should set a policy for all customers, so no one will have a reason to feel that they are being treated unfairly. Ideally, you should post a “checklist” so each cashier can easily see it. It should include the following;
- IS IT DATED TODAY? Checks must be dated the same day they’re given. Post-dated checks cannot be prosecuted.
- IS THE SIGNATURE LEGIBLE? Do not accept previously signed checks. Have the check signed in your presence to compare with a driver’s license or other identification. If the signature is illegible, print the check writer’s name on the “memo” section of the check.
- IS THE ADDRESS COMPLETE? Require a permanent street address, not a P.O. Box number, unless you know the check writer.
- CAN YOU CONFIRM IDENTITY? Do not rely on pre-printed ID numbers on the check. Compare the photo DL or id with the check writer.
- DO THE WRITTEN AMOUNTS AND DOLLAR FIGURE CORRESPOND? Banks will not honor checks with discrepancies.
- DOES THE SIGNATURE MATCH THE NAME ON THE ACCOUNT? Banks will not honor checks with discrepancies. If the signature is illegible, print the check writer’s name on the “memo” section of the check.
- HAVE YOU RECORDED THE ID NUMBERS? Record, on the check, the ID/DL number, the issuing state of the identifier, ie. (TX DL# 00000000), as well as the clerk’s initial (the clerk who accepted the check.) This procedure allows to later prove the necessary element of identity. The preferred ID is a driver’s license or State Identification card. If the check writer does not have a driver’s license or State ID, get their date of birth, sex, and race, minimally
- BUSINESS CHECKS. We cannot prosecute a business. Be sure to document the ID/DL number of the person signing the check. (Do not accept a pre-signed check.)
- The check must be presented to the bank for payment or deposit within thirty (30) days of its date of issuance.
- The check must be stamped with the reason for the bank’s refusal to accept the check.
- Present the check to the criminal District Attorney’s Office within 30 days.
- Complete the Affidavit for Arrest Warrant and Detention and Merchant List of Checks then submit along with the returned check to the Criminal District Attorney's Hot Check Section located on the third floor at the Courthouse Annex Building at 205 N. Bridge St., Suite #301, Victoria, TX 77901.
- If the check is returned and marked “Account Closed,” there is no need to send a certified letter.
1. The original check as stamped by the bank, or a legible certified photocopy (of both the front and back) from the bank in lieu of the original.
2. If the check is for a Theft of Service, please provide a copy of the receipt detailing the services performed.
3. The completed (click on these links to download) Affidavit for Arrest Warrant and DetentionandMerchant List of Checks;Preprinted forms are also provided at the District Attorney’s Office. Notary service is available for executing the above-mentioned affidavit.
4. In some instances, you may be required to provide a narrative affidavit of the events surrounding the transaction made on the tendered check or checks.
Once you have submitted a check to our office and we determine that it meets the above criteria, we will enter the check into our system and proceed to contact the check writer and process a case on the check. Once the District Attorney’s Office has accepted the check, do not attempt to collect on it. If a check writer makes a partial payment, the check will be returned to you by our office and will not be accepted again.
- A check more than two (2) years old if it is under $1,500. If the check is over $1,500, it cannot be more than five (5) years old.
- A check that is lacking identifying information on the check writer such as their driver’s license number or street address.
The following types of checks cannot be prosecuted as Theft by Check.
- A check passed outside of Victoria County.
- A check that has not been submitted to the bank within thirty (30) days or is not marked by the bank as “NSF” or “Account Closed.” (If you present the check to the bank in person, the bank must stamp the reason for return and date it.)
- A check where partial payment has been made.
- A check given for a returned check.
Theft by check carries the following maximum penalties in Texas:
- $500 fine for checks written under $20.00
- $2,000.00 fine and 6 months in jail for checks written between $20.00-$500.00
- $4,000.00 fine and 1 year in jail for check written between $500.00 - $1,499.00
- Confinement in prison and $10,000.00 fine for checks written above $1,500.00