Is it criminal to misuse EFTs?

Posted July 24th, 2014 by .

Categories: Criminal Defense.

criminal-debt-card-misueBad check writing can be a serious criminal offense.  Under New Jersey law, the amount of the check dictates the level of the crime.  For example, it is a disorderly persons offense to pass a worthless check written for less than $200.  When someone passes a bad check over that amount, the crime becomes an indictable offense.  What about electronic funds transfers or EFTs?  What does this term even mean?

Electronic funds transfers are representative of the technology age.  Rather than send out a slew of checks, many take advantage of EFTs.  Most gyms insist that patrons sign EFT authorizations for their monthly payments.  When you use the computer to make online payments, you are also using a form of electronic funds transfer.  Direct deposits and debits are both considered EFTs.  What happens when there is a bad electronic funds transfer?

The New Jersey State Legislature recently updated the answers to those questions.  Under new legislation, the law on bad checks will be amended.  It does not differentiate between bad checks and bad electronic funds transfers.  The degree of crime will be based on the same premise.  The person who issues the check or authorizes the transfer will have up to ten days to correct their mistake.  The ten days runs from the date of notification of the refused check or EFT.

The same is true for civil penalties.  A person who receives a bad check may pursue a claim against the person who issued it.  The same will now be true for those who make fraudulent online money transfers.  This applies to instances where the check or EFT is not made good within 35 days.

If you are accused of writing a check for insufficient funds or a fraudulent electronic money transfer, it is important to speak to an attorney.  The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone has handled these types of cases for over 25 years.  Contact us to set up a complimentary consultation.

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