The Worthless Check Division of the 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office is responsible for administering the District Attorney’s obligations under state law. Typically, this involves working with merchants and individuals who have accepted a check for payment of goods and services only to discover that the check was issued on an account that had insufficient funds or was closed. We understand that you or your business can be greatly affected by returned checks and we will work diligently to retrieve all amounts owed to you. Please know that the DA’s office is not a collection agency. We assist in prosecution of the accused. The Sheriff’s office will help in the arrest of the accused should the accused not pay restitution.
What Qualifies as a Worthless Check
The check(s) must have been received in Ascension, Assumption or St. James Parishes and must have been in exchange for something of value; for example, cash, services, merchandise, etc. The check(s) must have been processed through a banking system that has indicated the checks(s) was NSF, account closed, no account found or insufficient funds. A check in which there has been a stop payment order cannot be prosecuted as a Worthless Check. Stop payment checks should be submitted to your local Justice of the Peace or be litigated civilly.
The following checks will not be accepted for prosecution by our office:
- Payroll Checks – Contact Federal Office, Wage and Hour Division at the Department of Labor.
- Checks Over 120 Days Old – There is a problem of identification.
- Checks not processed through your bank within 30 days of issuance.
- Checks that are postdated or have been held.
- Checks Written for “CASH” – Check must be made payable to the person filing charges.
- Two-Party Checks – The problem is proving intent to defraud and identification.
- Third-Party Checks
- Checks with “Stop Payment” or “Refer to Maker” Stamped on Them – This is a civil matter.
- Checks with “Blocked/Frozen Account” or Refer to Maker” stamped on them. This is a civil matter.
- Checks that partial restitution has already been collected.
- Credit Card Checks– Pay Day or Checks Made Out for a Loan
- Checks with no Physical Address – We cannot warrant a PO Box.
- Out of State Checks – We must have bank personnel as witnesses and merchant must write a letter stating that they agree to pay all expenses to transport a bookkeeper of the bank to the appropriate Parish if needed for prosecution.
- Checks Without Identification – We must have a Driver’s license number or ID number.
Please note that it is difficult to prosecute if checks in which driver’s license or identification provided by the individual who submitted the check differs from the name of the writer. Checks submitted on corporate or out- of-state accounts present problems that are at times insurmountable obstacles to prosecution.
Filing a Complaint
Gather the information on the person who wrote the check. In the State of Louisiana, the writer is the individual that will be prosecuted for the check, not the company or business (if the account was written on a company check). We need the check writer’s name, physical address, driver’s license number and date of birth.
Send a “certified return receipt requested” letter to the writer of the check. Click here for our (Sample 10 Day Demand Letter link). This is in accordance with the mandate prescribed by LA R.S. 14:71. You must allow the check writer ten (10) days to make the check good after the receipt of the certified letter return receipt. If the writer of the check refuses to accept the certified letter, we will accept the check itself to use in prosecution. If you are contacted by the check writer, and he/she wants to make good the check, please accept only cash, money order or cashier’s check.
After 10 days and you’ve not received payment, you will need to complete the (Worthless Checks Complaint Form link) and submit it by mail or in person, along with a copy of the notice, the original check and the original certified “Green Card” or “Returned Envelope”. Once you have filed a complaint with our office, you cannot accept or negotiate payment for the tendered check. When the accused has made restitution through the DA’s office, you will be notified via the U.S. Postal Service with the payment attached. We ask that you please allow at least ninety (90) days before calling concerning the status of your case. If at any time after filing your complaint you accept direct payment from the accused, you will be held responsible for the DA fee that otherwise would have been collected from the accused.
Once all paperwork is received by our office, we will proceed with the issuance of a warrant for their arrest. Once arrested, the individual will be placed on our arraignment docket and then on to trial if the checks are not paid.
If you have a change of contact information during this process, please contact us with that change.