What’s the Worthless Check Program
The First Circuit Solicitor’s Office Worthless Check Program operates as a diversion program within the Solicitor’s Office to assist merchants and small businesses with the collection and prosecution of worthless checks.
It is designed to help in the collection of monies owed as a result of accepting worthless checks, to help conserve law enforcement resources, and to educate worthless check writers about the consequences of their crime.
The Worthless Check Program is a joint venture between Calhoun, Dorchester, and Orangeburg Counties and the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
The First Circuit Solicitor’s Office works very closely with the Magistrate’s Court and county law enforcement in an effort to properly collect and prosecute these cases.
Worthless Check Program Requirements
Prior to contacting the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office, you must determine whether or not the check received by you or your business can be considered a worthless check.
Checks will only qualify for the Worthless Check Program if (must meet all of the below criteria):
- They were given for labor (payroll checks) or personal services;
- They were given in payment for merchandise, case or services;
- They were deposited within ten (10) days of receipt;
- The transaction occurred in Calhoun, Dorchester, or Orangeburg Counties;
- The check was returned by the bank because of insufficient funds, or account closed;
- The checks should be submitted for collection within thirty (30) days from the date the check was returned.
Checks will not qualify for the Worthless Check Program if:
- The check was post-dated.
- There was an agreement to hold the check at the time of the transaction.
- The person accepting the check had reason to believe the check was not good at the time of receipt.
- The check was stolen, forged, drawn on a fictitious account, or if there are signature irregularities.*
*If the check was stolen, forged, drawn on a fictitious account, or if there are signature irregularities, please contact the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the location the transaction occurred so that they may investigate further.
When you receive a worthless check and it meets the Worthless Check Program criteria (above), you can submit the check along with the victim/vendor form to the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office for collection.
The First Circuit Solicitor’s Office will contact the check writer and attempt to collect the money. If a collection is made, restitution will be paid to you or the victim. If restitution is not made, a courtesy summons warrant will be issued and served on the check writer by law enforcement.
Once service is made, the check writer is given a court date. You or the victim will be notified of this court date. An Assistant Solicitor, from the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office, will attend the court hearing to properly prosecute the case.
ONCE A CHECK IS SUBMITTED TO OUR OFFICE FOR COLLECTION, YOU MAY NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT FROM THE CHECK WRITER. ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE MADE TO THE FIRST CIRCUIT SOLICITOR’S OFFICE!
Payment to Victims
When restitution for a worthless check is made, the payment will be sent directly to you or the victim at the address specified on the victim/vendor form.
You are entitled to receive the full face value of the worthless check and any statutorily approved service charges ($30.00 returned check fee) you incur as a result of the worthless check.
By law, you cannot accept partial payment on a check and still present this check to the Solicitor’s Office. Restitution is disbursed on a monthly basis.
Before Accepting A Check
As a merchant or small business, there are several things to keep in mind prior to accepting a check as a form of payment.
In order to aid the First Circuit Solicitor’s Office in the prosecution of worthless check cases, please keep the following in mind:
- Make sure the check is signed in your presence.
- Make sure the date and amount on the check are correct.
- Request a driver’s license/identification, with the check, and record the driver’s license number and issuing state.
- Compare the address on the driver’s license/identification with the address on the check.
- Request a date of birth.
- Verify a physical address if the check has a Post Office box.
120 Mill Street
St. Matthews, South Carolina 29135
140 North Main Street, Suite 102
Summerville, South Carolina 29483
151 Docket Street
Orangeburg, South Carolina 29115