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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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I had a check made out to my business and it was endorsed and

Customer Question

I had a check made out to my business and it was endorsed and deposted into another business account. I have contacted the bank were both accounts are and they say that there is nothing they can do? Is this larceny? Is this mail fraud? Should I contact the local police dept? Should I contact a lawyer. thank you Jeff English
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.

Do you know who deposited it into this other account? Was it done by someone working for your company? Or was it a mistake by the bank?

If the check was properly endorsed and the bank made the mistake, the bank is required to rectify the problem and transfer the money into the correct account. If this was a simple mistake, the bank has civil liability, but it is not a crime such as fraud.

If the check was inadvertently deposited by some person into the wrong account, you have a civil claim against both the person who made the mistake and the company which ended up with the money. Again, in this situation, there would be no crime.

If the check was intentionally deposited into the wrong account by someone for the purpose of stealing your money, of course, that is a crime in addition to a civil wrong.

Have you contacted the company which received the money? No matter how they got it, they are legally obligated to return it to you and you can sue to recover if necessary.

If you have any reason to believe that this was done intentionally, then you should contact the police and file a criminal report. Regardless of that, you should contact the other company and demand that they give you the money to which they are not entitled.

If you cannot get your money back from the other company, then you may have to retain local counsel to represent you. A simple demand from a lawyer may be enough to motivate cooperation. If not, you will have to sue to recover the money.

Edit: Sorry, you're optional and already tried information had not yet shown up when I posted the foregoing. It is difficult for me to understand why the bank won't cooperate, regardless of who's fault this is. They are going to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit regardless of how it happened. If you haven't already contacted the other company, you should try that next and then, if you can't get your money, contact an attorney.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I had owned a mobil gas station and sold the business in july. my mail was forwared for 90 days. a customer of mine(a house account ) sent a check made out to SOUTH MAIN MOBIL for 238.00. I rebilled the customer in october for the amount past due and she sent me a copy of her cancelled check. the routing number and account were on the check.the account number was not mine and belong to the person who bought my mobil station. I gave this info to the police and they just seem like they do not want to do anything about it.This person stole my check . the name of his business is Cheshire Mobil. when I asked the bank about checking checks for deposit in a account why do they not check who the check is made out to. They responded by saying it is not a bank policy.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Did you sale of the business specifically address the issue of receivables due at the time of the sale? If not, they would be considered an asset of the business and sold along with everything else, in which case the incoming check would properly belong to the new owner of the business.

If your sale of the business specifically reserved to you then outstanding receivables, you have the right to the money.

Sounds like a lousy bank policy, but for $238 the time, expense and hassle of retaining an attorney and fighting with them and/or the new owner over this probably is not worth it.

If you have a written purchase/sale agreement which makes it clear that you were entitled to then outstanding receivables, you should take that to the police department in support of your previous report. If you did not reserve these receivables, you will have to let this go.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
jim I did contact the buyer of my old station and confronted him with the check copy. he said that he did not receive a check.His manager of the the staion could have opened the mail and deposited it in to his account. Is this fraud or larceny? is it just a mistake,I do not know. thanks. Jeff english
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Jim this was not a outstanding recievable. It was after the sale date. I do have a agreement for recievablesThe customer did not update there records of the new name and new address.. Thanks for help. I will turn this over to the police dept. Jeff English
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
Ok, Jeff, I understand now that you were entitled to the money, particularly since it was an after sale transaction. If the check was opened by the station manager and deposited by mistake, then it is neither fraud nor larceny. However, under the circumstances, the new owner is legally obligated to return the money to you. He should simply contact the bank and tell them it was deposited in error and should go into your account.

You can, if necessary, pursue this in small claims court, which is inexpensive (albeit time consuming). You can turn it over to the PD, but I wouldn't be too hopeful that they are going to do anything -- if they determine that it was simply a mistake, they will not pursue it.

Thanks for the accept and good luck getting this straightened out.