Passing Bad Checks, N.J.S.A. 2c:21-5

Bad checks, money orders, electronic funds transfers, N.J.S.A. 2c:21-5, Passing Bad ChecksNew Jersey authorities charged an out of state pair for the alleged use of bad checks to buy three homes. A Grand Jury indicted them on second degree conspiracy, passing bad checks, and theft by deception, per the Attorney General. The man and woman allegedly presented checks drawn on a closed bank account as well as one with insufficient funds. The closed bank account was allegedly in the name of a fictitious law firm. Two homes were in Gloucester County — Greenwich Township and Monroe Township — and one home was in Camden County — Winslow Township. Although titles changed hands, in each case the fraud was uncovered so no deeds were recorded, per the Attorney General.

Bad checks, money orders, electronic funds transfers, N.J.S.A. 2c:21-5

In order to convict, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. knowingly passed a check for the payment of money and
  2. knew at the time she passed the check that it would not be honored by the drawee.

Definitions for Passing Bad Checks

“Check” means a draft payable on demand and drawn on a bank, or a cashier’s check, or a teller’s check. An instrument may be a check even though it is described on its face by another term, such as money order.

“To issue a check” means to move the check into circulation.

“To pass a check” means to deliver or circulate or hand the check from one person to another.

“Drawee” means the financial institution at which the issuer had, or made representation that she had, an account when she passed the check.

Statute, Passing Bad Checks

The foregoing is based in part on N.J.S.A. 2c:21-5, which provides:

A person who issues or passes a check … for the payment of money … knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, commits an offense as provided for in subsection c. of this section. For the purposes of this section as well as in any prosecution for theft committed by means of a bad check, an issuer is presumed to know that the check … (other than a post-dated check …) would not be paid, if:

  1. The issuer had no account with the drawee at the time the check or money order was issued … or
  2. Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, or due to a closed account, after a deposit by the payee into a bank for collection or after presentation to the drawee within 46 days after issue, and the issuer failed to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal or after notice has been sent to the issuer’s last known address. Notice of refusal may be given to the issuer orally or in writing in any reasonable manner by any person.
  3. An offense under this section is a:
    1. second degree crime if the amount of the check, money order, or electronic funds transfer is $75,000.00 or more;
    2. third degree crime if the amount of the check, money order, or electronic funds transfer is $1,000.00 or more but is less than $75,000.00;
    3. fourth degree crime if the amount of the check, money order, or electronic funds transfer is $200.00 or more but is less than $1,000.00;
    4. disorderly persons offense if the amount of the check, money order, or electronic funds transfer is less than $200.00.