Are you ready to know whether blank checks are legal or illegal under law? Check out this article and discover how the law considers them.
First off, blank checks are checks signed by the authorized signer, but the other details (like date, amount, and payee) have not been filled in the check.
Blank checks can be either legal or illegal, depending on how a person uses them.
[You may also be interested in reading Check Writing Tips – How to Properly Write on a Check]
When are They Considered Illegal?
Possessing blank checks with intent to defraud is illegal. It falls under check fraud.
Check fraud is a crime involving the illegal or deceptive use of checks. Mostly, it consists of an individual attempting to transact or purchase using a check that is void, stolen, altered, or faked. Therefore, stealing blank checks from someone’s home, office, or purse is a crime. These kinds of fraud are increasing with advancing technology and new methods.
Assuredly, the sentence and punishment relating to check fraud is severe. Once caught with this crime, the bank in question poses hefty fines against the fraudulent party on you.
The fraudulent is charged by either a misdemeanor or felony check fraud. In misdemeanor, a person is jailed for less than a year, accompanied by some criminal fine. Contrary, felony check fraud calls for a person to be imprisoned for more than a year and hefty criminal penalties imposed on him/her.
Out of the people caught with check fraud, many face felony convictions. Why? Because nobody wants to steal a few dollars. All they need is to fill their bank accounts and then start living luxurious lives. In fact, only a few misdemeanor charges have been brought on.
Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, the defendant must pay the victim for the loss incurred.
Again, the amountstolen using blank checks or any other check fraud way determines the kind of charge. For example, some states impose misdemeanor charges to check fraud for an amount of less than $1,000. Any fraud involving above that is lies under a felony.
Any check fraud in America is treated seriously. A person can be fined even up to a million dollars or sentenced for more than 30 years. It’s no surprise the combination of both punitive actionsmay apply.
Additionally, first-time offenders- people without any criminal records- face even harsh sentences for involving themselves in financial fraud.
Both check fraud and passing bad checksisa punishable offense, but they’re considered slightly different. A fraudulent party qualifies for a misdemeanor when he passes a few bad checks in smaller cities or towns. However, if he passes many bad checks over a short period, then a felony degree applies.
When are They Considered Legal?
Blank checks are legal when used for running businesses.
For example, let’s assume you’re the only person who signs all the checks for your business, and you take a seven-day vacation. Your business must continue. So, the best thing you can do is sign a few checks and entrust them to one of your employees to make payments on your behalf.
Here is the problem; the employees have all the mandate and authority to issue the checks to any person with any amount he wishes. Even worse, these checks can be issued by any person (if not safely kept) since it contains the most vital thing- your signature. That’s why you should ensure your blank checks are stored securely.
That said, we can deduce that possessing blank checks is legal.
If you run your business, you must be careful when selecting the team that’ll handle those checks in your absence. Yes, it calls for utmost faith. Moreover, it requires passionate, potentially able, and persevering personnel to transform the business.
It takes only one wrong individual to bring down your business since blank checks are great bets on people. The selected person should be naturally accountable to the various business areas.
Also, you don’t need to put senior personnel in that position as long as you can find someone who is potential. Look for someone who can take responsibility and full control, inspire others towards success, who can’t be frozen by fear, and a person with a track of record of delivering exceptional results.
How to Secure Your Blank Checks
Now, we all know that blank checks are stolen, and you can lose your dollars within a second. And if you’ll recover, it may consume your precious time and spend your hard-earned pennies hiring a high-profile lawyer.
To avoid these losses, you can take some preventive measures:
- Keep your check key-access locks.
- Limit the employees who can access your blank checks.
- Keep checking the security of your unused checks.
- Shred voided checks promptly.
- Ensure that the first check of the day reconciles with the last of the previous day.
- Use security tape to seal all boxes of blank checks.
- Investigate carefully canceled checks and duplicate their numbers.
- Always use established sources when ordering checks and deposit slips. Report any missing document immediately.
Feel free to check out How to Fill Out an International Money Order?