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(Hot Checks)
Prior to accepting a bad check for collection, the payee must send a letter to the person who signed the check, via certified, return-receipt mail. This letter must state the check number, the amount of the check, and why the check was returned. Also, this letter must advise the check writer that he/she has 7 days to make the check good (thus, this is referred to as the "7-day letter"). Once the payee has received the return-receipt card and 7 days have passed, or the letter is returned for whatever reason, he/she can then turn the check over to the County Attorney for collection. A letter is again sent to the individual who signed the check. The individual is given approximately 14 days to respond to the letter. If the letter is returned, or if it has been delivered and no response has been received, the County Attorney will file a criminal complaint, and he/she has the discretion of asking for either a summons or warrant be issued for the defendant to appear before the court. Once a criminal action is filed, the defendant will then be assessed court costs of $111.00, a $10.00 service charge on each check, and a $10.00 collection fee on each check. If the payee desires to have the bad check collected, he/she should bring a copy of the "7-day" letter, the returned letter or the return-receipt card, and the original check to the Phillips County Sheriff's office. A brief affidavit will need to be filled out. There is no charge for this service. Once a bad check has been turned over to the Sheriff's office, all inquiries concerning that check, whether from the writer of the check or other persons, must be referred to the County Attorney. The County Attorney has complete control over the prosecution of the bad check once it is turned over to his office.

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