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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Is it a crime if you cash in a cheque addressed to someone

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Is it a crime if you cash in a cheque addressed to someone else, in a place that gives you cash for a cheque there and then, taking your personal details. How to reverse this, and get the cheque back from the place?

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Basically my flatmate went back to her country and she asked me to open her letters and deal with her matters. She got a cheque and because she doesn't have a UK bank account I took it to a cheque cashing place and wanted to send her money by paypal. Now I'm scared I might have committed a crime, and would like to reverse it and get the cheque back so I can send it to her. Alternatively if I just send her the money by paypal is that ok?


Did they take a cut of the cheque?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The company? Yes they took around 10%

Thank you.

I am sorry but there is a potential offence if she did not agree to this.

If you present a cheque to a company for cashing then you are representing that you are the person to whom the cheque is made out. That was not true in this case and potentially a fraud. You will find the offence here

You didn't act to gain yourself but they could try to argue that you caused her a loss because of the 10% cut.

Unfortunately if you have cashed it now its very unlikely that they will return the cheque but you could try.

Alternatively you could send her the full amount by paypal but that would mean you would have to make up the 10%. If you took that action its very unlikely you would be prosecuted.

I am very sorry if this is bad news.

Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

so if I send her the full amount the cheque was made out to, and cover the 10% cut myself (I'm willing to do that to be on a safe side because her agreement was only verbal so she could argue she never wanted me to do that), you say it's unlikely I will be prosecuted? can the inland revenue who issued the cheque investigate?

Yes, its still a deception but if you do that they cannot prove the intent to gain or cause loss.

The revenue could investigate but they wont. They have no reason to. Anyway, the law is the law even for the revenue despite the way they regularly behave.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

sorry I don't understand the last bit that the law is the law even for the revenue, can you clarify what you mean please?

So, legally, is it better for me to try to get the cheque back from the cashing place (will they even do that?), or just straightaway send the money to my ex flatmate?

1. Not sure how to make this clearer. The law is the law.

2. As I said above, probably they won't but you could try. Failing that send the money.
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