Worthless Checks /Forgery/Identity Theft

Also known as “white collar crimes”, charges such as writing worthless/bad checks, forgery, fraud, and identity theft are very common both in people’s personal lives as well as the business world. White collar crimes are committed for a variety of reasons, but most commonly when someone is under financial stress.

When people are under stress they often make poor choices. Often we neglect to analyze the potential risks of our actions until it is too late and we are faced with serious consequences. Such is often the case with white collar crimes.

Perhaps you have been under extreme financial stress and took actions you now regret. Although the court won’t accept that as an excuse, with the help of an experienced NC defense lawyer your story can be told, and your rights can be protected and defended.

We have experience handling cases like yours, whether it is writing a worthless check, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, or a related charge. We know the stress that causes people to take drastic measures like this and we want to help. Please call us for a free consultation, and our attorneys will tell you how we’ve handled similar cases, and what you can expect to happen to you.

Worthless Checks – Laws & Penalties in NC

Writing checks on an account you know has been closed or has insufficient funds is another serious criminal offense. Commonly know as bad checks, worthless checks is the legal terminology under NC criminal law.

Even if you didn’t know there were insufficient funds, but the prosecution can show that you should have known, you can be found guilty.

If the check was:

More than $2,000 (Class I felony)

Less than $2,000 (Class 2 misdemeanor)

Your potential sentence could be:

  • 3-8 months in prison (first time offender)
  • 30 days- 6 months in jail

Ref: NCGS 14-107

In addition to criminal charges, you can face civil liabilities for worthless checks. This means that restitution and fees may be due to the bank and the merchant that the checks were passed to.

We may be able to argue in court that the charges should be dropped in exchange for full immediate restitution, or other considerations. Keeping you from getting a criminal charge for this offense is the primary goal of most bad checks defenses.

Identity Theft – Laws & Penalties

You may be charged with identity theft if the prosecutor has probable cause that you obtained or used identifying information of another person with the intent to fraudulently represent them in order to obtain anything of value, benefit or for the purpose of avoiding legal consequences.

This would apply to using someone’s social security number, driver’s license or driver’s license number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc.

Generally speaking identity theft is a Class G felony, which is punishable by 8-16 months in a state prison for first time offenders with no prior convictions. If, however, you have any blemishes on your criminal record, you could be facing much more prison time.

Ref: NCGS 14-113.20

Forgery – Laws & Penalties

Forgery is possessing or counterfeit materials or executing (signing) items with a name other than your own in an attempt to defraud. Forgery is a Class I felony and punishable by 3-8 months in prison for someone with a clean criminal record.

Ref: NCGS 14-119

Embezzlement – Laws & Penalties

If you are being accused of stealing money from an employer, you could be facing serious prison time if convicted. For an embezzlement charge to stick, the prosecution must prove that you fraudulently, or knowingly and willfully misapplied any goods, money, checks, or like items or converted them to your own use.

Your charge depends on the amount of money or the value of goods in question. If the value is over $100,000 then you are facing Class C felony charges that carry a potential sentence of 44-92 months in prison for a first time offender. This is an incredibly lengthy prison term for someone with a clean criminal record.

If the value of the goods or money embezzled is less than $100,000 you may be facing charges of a Class H felony punishable by 4-8 months in prison for a first time offense.

You can also be charged with attempting to embezzle, known under NC criminal law as attempting to obtain property by false pretense.

Ref: NCGS 14-90

Free Legal Consultation on Any White Collar Criminal Charge in North Carolina

White collar crimes are not your typical street crimes and are not treated as such. Facing fraud or embezzlement charges in North Carolina is difficult and we want to help.

The laws are complicated, and it is extremely difficult for anyone to face this without an experienced defense lawyer on your side. Call for a free consultation today to find out exactly what we can do to help.

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