The Solicitor's Worthless Check Unit was established in 2003 to collect and prosecute bad checks. The program eases the burden of collecting bad checks by transferring the collection process from the victim to the Solicitor's Office thus eliminating the victim's work and costs associated with collections. The Check Unit collects monies on bad checks and distributes restitution to the victims. The traditional prosecution of worthless checks is still the law. Participation by a victim in the Worthless Check Program is optional and FREE.
The Worthless Check Program is self‑sustaining under the control and supervision of the Solicitor's Office and is supported through cooperation of the judiciary, law enforcement, and County Council. Operational costs are recovered from the offender, not the victim.
The victim receives the full amount of the bad check plus $30.00 upon the Worthless Check Unit collecting the restitution and all legally applicable fees.
S.C. Code Ann. §17-22-710 authorizes the Solicitor to operate a Worthless Check Program.
South Carolina law authorizes the Solicitor's Worthless Check Unit to add additional fees to a bad (returned) check. The check writer can avoid the additional fees by taking care of the check prior to the check being submitted to the Check Unit. Once a merchant or individual submits a check to the Check Unit, all communications and payments related to the check must occur through the Solicitor's Office. Payment must be a Money Order or a Bank Cashier's Check for the exact amount due. The Check Unit is unable to make change on any money submitted in person or by mail. Any overpayment will be forfeited to the Solicitor's Worthless Check Unit to determine how the overage shall be applied, such as to offset the operation of the program.
The victim of a stolen check or checkbook should obtain from the bank an affidavit of the event along with a police report. The police report should contain the bank, account number, and the check number(s) that were stolen.
To criminally prosecute a bad check, South Carolina law states a check must be deposited within 10 days of receipt, the check cannot be postdated, that there was no agreement to hold the check, and a warrant must be obtained within 180 days from the date the check was received. The Solicitor's Office has full statutory discretion concerning the prosecution of your worthless check complaint. If the check was received in the mail, keep the envelope for proof of when the check was received.
- Decide which checks to submit. (Checks must be received in Edgefield, Lexington, McCormick, or Saluda County.)
- Complete a Worthless Check Unit Worksheet.
- Do not accept payments from the check writer after submitting a check. This may void collection and prosecution efforts. All contact with the check writer concerning the bad check must be made through the Check Unit.
- Prior to a warrant being issued on a non-collected check, a victim must verify that the facts of the bad check.
- When a bad check is paid in full with all legally applicable fees, a check will be issued to the victim for the restitution plus the statutorily approved service charge, which is currently $30.00. Victims' checks are issued around the 1st and 15th of each month and are mailed to the address provided on the Worthless Check Unit Worksheet.