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Under New York law, writing a check is illegal if the person knows that there are not funds available in the account to cover it. That means that it's a crime to write a check that is returned for insufficient funds if it's been cashed within 30 days, but not a check returned for other reasons (such as a stopped payment). It would also be a crime if the check is drawn on an account that does not exist.
When someone gives you a check that is returned by the bank for insufficient funds, the law says that you can give them written notice that the check was returned (usually a copy of whatever the bank sends you), and they have 10 days to make good on it to avoid criminal charges. If you give the written notice and they do not pay within 10 days, you can file a police report. N.Y. Penal Laws, Section 190.05 - 190.10
. Intentionally writing a bad check is a Class B misdemeanor
When a person stops payment on a check, the recourse is to sue for damages. You could also sue on a check that was returned if you deposited it more than 30 days after it was written. In those scenarios, it's not a crime, but the person the check was made out to is still entitled to payment.
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