Unfunded or Bounced cheques

Bounced cheques (Unfunded), also known as NSF cheques, are a type of payment that is returned to the payee by the bank due to insufficient funds. Bouncing a cheque is considered a civil matter, and the payee may sue the drawer for the amount of the cheque plus any associated fees. In some jurisdictions, bouncing a cheque may also be considered a criminal offense. If you are considering bouncing a cheque, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits carefully.

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What Is a Bounced Check?

A bounced check, also known as a rubber check, occurs when a bank cannot process a check due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) in the account holder’s account. The bank returns the check and charges the writer NSF fees.

Bouncing a check can harm your reputation and relationships, and may incur legal fees exceeding the check’s value. However, in genuine financial difficulties, it might be your best option. Ultimately, deciding to bounce a check is a personal choice.

Bounced cheques: New Interpol CCF Decision

Decisions by the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) are usually private, but to demonstrate its operations and statute compliance, the CCF occasionally publishes anonymous judgments on current, public interest issues.

The subject of using INTERPOL to pursue individuals for returned checks continues to adversely affect some people, as previously discussed by the Interpol attorneys team.

What were the issues in the decision?

The decision that was made public included an applicant who had received a Red Notice for writing a check that was not financed. The following request for the erasure of his personal data was made by the applicant on the grounds that:

  • The dispute is civil in nature, and
  • For the purposes of international police cooperation, the case is uninteresting.

What were the factors considered?

The applicant stated that after receiving a loan during his former position, he had met honest difficulty to satisfy the financial commitments. He further stated that he had no intention of writing an unfunded check.

The applicant expressed a readiness to assist and carry out this duty. The Red Notice had adverse effects that the Applicant had to deal with.

The NCB claimed that in the situation of unpaid checks, no particular intent is necessary; simply issuing the check while being aware that there is insufficient cash is sufficient.

What were the findings of the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files?

The Commission noted that:

  • Despite the minimal requirement having been met, the interest in fostering international police cooperation must be evaluated, among other things, in light of the data’s nature and the extent to which NCBs may utilize it for extradition reasons;
  • According to the Court’s ruling, several laws regard the mere act of writing an unfunded check to be criminal conduct with intent;
  • However, in order to cooperate through INTERPOL’s channels, one must follow the rules, which include restricting the use of Red Notices for use in cases of common crime;
  • The majority of Member Countries do not consider the act of a bounced check to be criminal;
  • In addition, many national systems rarely recognize the offense as a crime and an extraditable offense;
  • In the case of the Applicant, the Commission expressed strong concern that the information in the Applicant’s file might not be relevant for the purposes of international police cooperation and that the act of issuing an unfunded check alone does not constitute a “serious ordinary law crime” in cases where criminal intent has not been proven;
  • In this situation, the applicant’s data must be erased because it does not follow INTERPOL’s guidelines for data processing.

The above decision’s disclosure does not appear to have served as a deterrent to those who have used INTERPOL to pursue others in comparable situations.

The aforementioned ruling, however, at least offers optimism that INTERPOL is cognizant of how, in some situations, its use for such objectives is in violation of its own guidelines. Hopefully, the decision release will also be perceived as at least an awareness of the necessity for making this decision-making more transparent.

Expert legal counsel is advised if you are dealing with the aforementioned problems. The aforementioned ruling and the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) conclusions could undoubtedly strengthen any submissions to INTERPOL.

Bounced cheques, a criminal offense in several countries

Bounced checks are a significant issue in many countries, sometimes even considered a criminal offense. They happen when a check is written without sufficient funds in the account, often as an attempt to defraud. This can cause financial issues for both the writer and receiver of the check and may lead to jail time in some places.

For example, relatively recent amendments to the new bounced check law in the UAE have significantly reduced penalties for certain groups of cases.

Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure adequate funds are in your account before writing a check.

Bounced cheques, in many cases just a civil matter

Bounced checks, often just a civil matter, occur due to insufficient funds in the account, unexpected withdrawals, miscalculations, fraud, or forgery. If a check bounces, immediately contact the payee to explain and arrange alternative payment. If unresolved, legal action may be necessary, as bounced checks are usually civil cases requiring a lawsuit for compensation. Consult an attorney before proceeding to ensure a strong case.

Bounced cheques, a red notice is a common practice

A bounced check, or rubber check, is returned by banks due to insufficient funds to cover it. A red notice from Interpol warns member states about individuals wanted for serious crimes. The widespread knowledge of these consequences – the risk of legal issues from bouncing checks and potential inclusion on international wanted lists – has effectively deterred criminal activity.

Bounced cheques, no Interpol notice in a civil matter

Bounced checks can lead to civil issues and potentially involve Interpol through a red notice, which banks and institutions take more seriously. However, a civil matter differs from a criminal one, and involving Interpol might not always be necessary. For guidance on the appropriateness of diffusion in specific cases, consulting an experienced attorney is advised.

Bounced cheques, worldwide assistance Interpol Law Firm

Bounced cheques are a serious matter. If you have received a bounced cheque, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at Interpol Law Firm have experience handling bounced cheque cases, and they can help you recover the money you are owed. They will also work with you to determine if the person who wrote the cheque is criminally liable. In some cases, bounced cheques are written with the intention of defrauding the recipient. If this is the case, you may be able to file a police report. The lawyers at Interpol Law Firm can assist you with this process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Lawyer Kendall Coffey
Kendall Coffey
Senior Partner
Mr. Coffey is a former U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Florida (1993-1996); and served as Chair of, the Southern District Conference, Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (April 2009 – January 2017).

Unfunded Bounced Cheques FAQ

What is the punishment if the cheque is bounced?
The dishonor of a check is a criminal offense under Section 138 of the Act, and is punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine, or both. The drawer should be offered the opportunity to quickly pay back the amount of the check if the payee chooses to proceed legally.
How long is jail time for bounced cheque?
2 years. In India and UAE, bouncing a check is a crime that carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and a fine equal to twice the value of the dishonored check.
Is cheque bounce a criminal offence in UAE?
Cheque bounces are considered misdemeanors (criminal offenses) in the UAE and are subject to jail time, fines, or both. Due to the UAE's vast corporate operations, check bounce cases are frequent there.
How to solve cheque bounce case in Dubai?
In Dubai, there are two ways that a person might report a bounced check to the police. The first approach is physically going to a police station, and the second option entails submitting an online police report.
Will my bank notify me if a check bounces?
Banks are not obligated to notify account holders when a check they signed bounces due to insufficient funds. However, some banks may provide options for customers to enroll in notifications and be informed about overdraft situations. It is advisable to check with your specific bank to see if they offer such services.
How serious is a bounced check?
Passing bad checks can be illegal and the severity of the crime varies depending on factors such as the amount of the check and whether it involves crossing state lines. If you write a check without sufficient funds, your bank will likely charge you an NSF fee, as well as potentially an overdraft fee. Additionally, the recipient of the bounced check may charge you for the lack of payment. Consequences of bouncing checks may also include businesses refusing to accept your checks, a decrease in your credit score, and potential legal issues.
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