750.131 Check, draft, or order for payment of money; making, drawing, uttering, or delivering without sufficient funds with intent to defraud.

In the state of Michigan, it is unlawful to write a check or make a payment using any method when there are insufficient funds in a bank or financial institute to cover the check, draft, or payment. Check fraud law is very clear, particularly when it comes to intentional fraudulence as in the case of check kiting or paper hanging. Individuals may also be charged with a crime for writing a check or draft against an account that no longer exists, or has been closed.

Innocent people can be charged with a felony offense for writing a bad check, or writing a check or other payment when funds are insufficient. You may have made an error in bringing your balance up-to-date, or the bank could have possibly made a mistake. Regardless, writing a bad check or being charged with non-sufficient funds is a serious matter. Intentional fraud or otherwise, you could face serious criminal penalties if found guilty.

Whether an individual is charged with NSF or nonsufficient funds, or a no-account check, there are elements, which must be proven by the prosecutor. Typically, when an individual receives a notice from the bank informing of insufficient funds, the individual has five days to correct the situation; that is, to pay for the bad check. If action is not taken, an individual may be accused of intentional fraud under Michigan law.

750.131a Check, draft, or order for payment of money; making, drawing, uttering, or delivering without account, credit, or sufficient funds with intent to defraud; violation as felony; penalties.

The punishment for no-account checks or insufficient funds checks with the intent to defraud depend on certain factors including the amount involved, and whether the individual has been convicted of check fraud in the past. Criminal penalties will include possible jail/prison time and substantial fines as follows:

A no-account check violation will leave the individual facing a prison term of up to two years, along with potential fines of up to $500.

If a person is found guilty of committing intentional check fraud through writing checks on an account he or she knows contains insufficient funds to cover those checks, penalties will depend on the amount of the check or checks written and prior convictions. For example:

A check written in an amount less than $100 will face up to 93 days in jail, along with a fine of up to $500.

A check written in an amount between $100 and $500 will leave the defendant facing a fine of as much as $1,000 or three times the amount of the fraudulent check written, whichever is greater, and possible prison time of up to one year.

A check or draft written in an amount greater than $500 will leave the defendant facing a maximum of two years in prison, along with fines of up to $2,000 or three times the amount of the fraudulent check/draft written, whichever is greater.

It is important to note that criminal penalties become harsher depending on whether the accused has prior convictions for check fraud.

Other Consequences:

Any person who is convicted of a criminal offense including check fraud and non-sufficient funds offenses will have a criminal record which is available to potential employers, landlords, financial institutions, or any person who desires to investigate an individual's criminal history.

Related Crimes:

There are several other crimes closely related to no-account checks and bank fraud, including:

  • Evidence of Intent
  • Evidence of intent; notice of protest.
  • Checks without sufficient funds; credit construed.
  • Uttering or publishing as true document listed in MCL 750.248b; intent; felony; penalty; exception; court order
  • Forgery of bank bills and promissory notes

Experience and Success:

The criminal defense firm of Grabel & Associates has extensive experience and success in defending clients from a wide array of fraud charges, including check fraud and check forgery. Regardless of the type of fraud the defendant is charged with, we have had substantial success defending the client, working to achieve acquittals or have charges dismissed, or appealing a conviction in some cases.

Defenses:

The defense strategy used in defending a client's freedom and working to prevent a conviction depend on the facts of each individual case. There are a variety of defenses that often prove to be effective in cases involving check fraud, forgery, no-account cases, and other types of financial fraud. Individuals who have been found guilty of check fraud or forgery may want to seek post-conviction relief or appeal their conviction.

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931

750.131 Check, draft, or order for payment of money; making, drawing, uttering, or delivering without sufficient funds with intent to defraud; violation; penalties; enhanced sentence based on prior convictions.

Sec. 131.

(1) A person shall not make, draw, utter, or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, to apply on account or otherwise, upon any bank or other depository with intent to defraud and knowing at the time of the making, drawing, uttering, or delivering that the maker or drawer does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the bank or other depository to pay the check, draft, or order in full upon its presentation.

(2) A person shall not make, draw, utter, or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, to apply on account or otherwise, upon any bank or other depository with intent to defraud if the person does not have sufficient funds for the payment of the check, draft, or order when presentation for payment is made to the drawee. This subsection does not apply if the lack of funds is due to garnishment, attachment, levy, or other lawful cause and that fact was not known to the person when the person made, drew, uttered, or delivered the check, draft, or order.

(3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a crime as follows:

(a) If the amount payable in the check, draft, or order is less than $100.00, as follows:

(i) For a first offense, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

(ii) For an offense following 1 or more prior convictions under this section or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to this section, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(b) If the amount payable in the check, draft, or order is $100.00 or more but less than $500.00, as follows:

(i) For a first or second offense, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

(ii) For an offense following 2 or more prior convictions under this section, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. For purposes of this subparagraph, however, a prior conviction does not include a conviction for a violation or attempted violation of subdivision (a).

(c) If the amount payable in the check, draft, or order is $500.00 or more, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

(4) If the prosecuting attorney intends to seek an enhanced sentence based upon the defendant having 1 or more prior convictions, the prosecuting attorney shall include on the complaint and information a statement listing the prior conviction or convictions. The existence of the defendant's prior conviction or convictions shall be determined by the court, without a jury, at sentencing or at a separate hearing for that purpose before sentencing. The existence of a prior conviction may be established by any evidence relevant for that purpose, including, but not limited to, 1 or more of the following:

(a) A copy of the judgment of conviction.

(b) A transcript of a prior trial, plea-taking, or sentencing.

(c) Information contained in a presentence report.

(d) The defendant's statement.

(5) If the sentence for a conviction under this section is enhanced by 1 or more prior convictions, those prior convictions shall not be used to further enhance the sentence for the conviction pursuant to section 10, 11, or 12 of chapter IX of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 769.10, 769.11, and 769.12.

History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;-- CL 1948, 750.131 ;-- Am. 1962, Act 65, Eff. Mar. 28, 1963 ;-- Am. 1984, Act 277, Eff. Mar. 29, 1985 ;-- Am. 1998, Act 312, Eff. Jan. 1, 1999

Former Law: See section 1 of Act 271 of 1919, being CL 1929, § 12064; and Act 142 of 1923.

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931

750.131a Check, draft, or order for payment of money; making, drawing, uttering, or delivering without account, credit, or sufficient funds with intent to defraud; violation as felony; penalties.

Sec. 131a.

(1) A person shall not, with intent to defraud, make, draw, utter, or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, to apply on an account or otherwise, upon any bank or other depository, if at the time of making, drawing, uttering, or delivering the check, draft, or order he or she does not have an account in or credit with the bank or other depository for the payment of the check, draft, or order upon presentation. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or by a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

(2) A person shall not, with intent to defraud, make, draw, utter, or deliver, within a period of not more than 10 days, 3 or more checks, drafts, or orders for the payment of money, to apply on account or otherwise, upon any bank or other depository, knowing at the time of making, drawing, uttering, or delivering each of the checks, drafts, or orders that the maker or drawer does not have sufficient funds or credit with the bank or other depository for the payment of the check, draft, or order in full upon its presentation. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or by a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

History: Add. 1941, Act 200, Eff. Jan. 10, 1942 ;-- CL 1948, 750.131a ;-- Am. 1984, Act 277, Eff. Mar. 29, 1985