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Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer, unfortunately you have two routes to be repaid: (1) is to send the check through collections, which may be difficult with the check writer facing criminal conviction; and (2) is to file a civil lawsuit, which you are correct, will take some time to process, a default judgment can take a couple of months, a civil trial can take a year or more.
Unfortunately, the victim restitution fund is designed to help those victims of violent crime and is not designed to compensate victims of financial crimes so you would not qualify for restitution through that program. http://www.ag.state.il.us/victims/cvc.html
Can you represent yourself in a criminal proceeding?
Yes you may. Most attorneys recommend against the practice.