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Can I go to jail for a Payday loan default? Closed Checking Account - MIchigan - Bad Check

Saint Joseph, MI |

I closed the account before the due date because I was going to receive numerous overdraft charges if I didn't. I have been using Check N Go for about a year so I was fully intending to pay it. I received a call today from a company that purchased the debt (so they say) from Check N Go saying that I have charges pending against me for bad checks and that they were coming to serve me today. I called my AG office in Michigan and confimerd that payday lenders cannot use the crinmnal process only civil to recover funds. But he said that since it was purchased, the AG no longer has oversight of it. He also said something about a loop hole since I closed my account they might be able to use criminal. So can a debt pruchaser press charges for writing a bad check?

Checking account was closed 2 weeks after the check was given to Check N Go. This is the Voicemail that they left me from a private number "This message is serving to you as official notification, My name is John Miller. I just received an order to have you served immediately with a summons to appear in court for writing bad checks, shows here for facing a bad check charge. I was hoping to make contact with you today to schedule a time and place I can meet with you, unfortunately, I am not able to make contact with you.You must be notified i will actively serve you this summons either at your home, your job, or out in the community.Now if you have any questions, or concerns with the charges that are pending against you for writing the bad checks, you probably wanna contact the plaintiffs office IMMEDIATELY. The phone number there is 877-805-6050 it is followed with a case number of xxxxx-aa. At this stage (name) you have officially... been notified."

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

You wrote, " I called my AG office in Michigan and confimerd that payday lenders cannot use the crinmnal process only civil to recover funds"

Good for you! You checked on your rights.

The purchase ploy is amusing: your AG rules.

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

Yes, but he also said something about a loop hole because I closed my checking account. Do you think they can still go after me for criminal charges because I close the account?

Gary D. Bollinger

Gary D. Bollinger

Posted

Did you mention that to the AG. In MO, it might make a difference if the check was written when the account was already closed.

Asker

Posted

It was closed 2 weeks after I wrote the check. I told him I close the check, but he didnt ask if it was before or after the check was wrote.

Gary D. Bollinger

Gary D. Bollinger

Posted

Then it was not written on a closed acct. I have reached the of my MO Lawyer opinion, MI law controls.

Charles Ross Smith III

Charles Ross Smith III

Posted

Bollinger is right. The check was clearly NOT written on a "closed" account. There was no criminal intent here. There was only an intent to make a high risk loan.

Posted

A collections agency cannot use the criminal code to charge you with anything. All they can do is sue you under the civil code to collect the debt. What the collector may have meant is that because you closed what I am assuming to be your checking account sooner, then it shows that you did not intend to pay the loan back if payment on the loan were being withdrawn from that account. Even in that case, all the collector can really do is file a complaint with the AG and the AG may decide whether to prosecute it or not.

Legal disclaimer: Mr. Tabaku may be reached at (240) 750-4663 or fetabaku@tabakulaw.com. Mr. Tabaku is an attorney licensed in the state of Maryland. This answer is for general information only based upon the facts stated in the question and does not create an attorney client relationship between Mr. Tabaku or Tabaku Law Firm, LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

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1 comment

Asker

Posted

Is this common for an AG to go after payday loan checks? The caller also said the that I am facing federal and state charges... the DA to be exact.

Posted

Payday loan people are outrageously viscious. Their industry makes a practice of threatening criminal charges that are simply not possible under the law. They routinely claim that their debts are nondischargeable in bankruptcy. But they never dare to step foot inside the bankruptcy courts to back up their claims.

I do not practice in Michigan, but in Ohio we frown on public prosecutors attempting to use the criminal courts to collect for a private collector, especially for the lying scum that calls itself the payday loan industry. Please pardon my warm feelings, but it makes no sense to use a public office to collect a private debt. Especially when it's clear that there is no criminal act involved.

Payday loans are LOANS. Period. They knew you were broke when they lent you the money. This is not a "bad check." It's a stupid loan. So do not pay attention to payday lender drivel.

But do get an attorney. You need one. Good luck.

This answer is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and may not be relied upon as legal advice. A careful examination of the facts is necessary before a legal answer may be relied on. You should consult your own attorney before taking or refraining from any legal action.

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

Thanks! How often do you see a payday loan shark successfully use the public system to criminal charge someone through the court system?

Charles Ross Smith III

Charles Ross Smith III

Posted

Never in the two counties I practice in, Erie and Huron County, Ohio. They stopped after we pled 2 clients not guilty and demanded jury trials. The trial judge dismissed both cases before they ever got to the jury. That effectively told the prosecutor to stop the practice or suffer even larger embarassment in the local press. The prosecutor got the point of the dismissals. They are elected after all.

Charles Ross Smith III

Charles Ross Smith III

Posted

P.S. This was all done over 8 years ago.

Posted

Let me answer your question both in terms of criminal law and civil law.

First, regarding criminal law, you can be criminally charged for writing a check on a closed account, or for non-sufficient funds. That charge generally requires a complaint to law enforcement and, after investigation by law enforcement, a report from law enforcement to the prosecutor who actually files the criminal complaint. Only the prosecutor can file a criminal complaint, not a debt collector. But the debt collector can complain to law enforcement.

Secondly, you can be sued in the civil division, and the plaintiff can collect double damages. Notice can be served by first class mail; the written notice must comply with the statutory requirements for bad checks.

What concerns me about the phone call is the case code which you gave, namely "aa". No collection case would have that case code. Accordingly, I suspect that the debt collector falsely represented that there was a case pending. That can lead to your suit aginst the debt collector; turn around is fair play.

Finally, in Michigan, there is no proper notice of a court case by phone. In a criminal case, there is a warrant; in a civil case, there is written notice accompanied by service.

Contact an attorney about your case. The worst thing you can do is ignore it.

Good luck.

William L. LaBre, J.D.
Attorney at Law
68897 So. Cass Street
P.O. Box 550
Edwardsburg, MI 49112
Ph: 269/663-8554

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