LEE COUNTY, Fla.-- Rubber checks are bouncing all around Southwest Florida. Each year people here write nearly 8,000 bad checks. Maybe you're a victim or maybe you've written once yourself. Either way, one program is trying to help no matter what side of the bad check you're on.
Last year, a parent of a child playing in little league took his team's jerseys to an embroidery company to get a logo printed on them. After talking to the shop's owner, Steve Hunt tells Call for Action, "she showed me an approval of artwork which I approved and then she went ahead and ran the jerseys and I paid her at that time."
That was in the Fall of 2008. When Steve went to pick up the jerseys he says, "the jerseys were not the same as the artwork that had been approved. They just didn't look good at all so she agreed to redo them at her cost."
However, Steve tells WINK that the owner didn't re-do them and eventually sent him a refund check instead.
"And that's when I went to deposit it the check, and I found out about a week later it was bad," he says.
That's where the State Attorney's Office's Worthless Check Diversion program comes in.
Janeen Deibler and Darrell Spivey make up the division. They process between 6,000 and 8,000 bad checks each year. Here's how it works:
If you write a bad check you'll first hear from your bank. Then the person you wrote the check to has to contact you to give you the chance to pay up. If that doesn't work, the person who got the bad check turns it over to the Worthless Check Division, which works with both parties before criminal charges are filed.
The Division then makes the bad check writer attend a class, which seems to work.
"The recitivism is only 2.6% so they don't have many re-offenders once they go through the class," says Janeen Deibler.
Since the program started in 1999, the division has recovered $6.9 million dollars for people in Southwest Florida.
If you've written received a bad check and want to report it click on this link for help.