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Is Placing a Stop Payment a Criminal Offense?

I wrote several checks to a Gamecash service at a casino then panicked and placed a stop payment on eleven of them, totaling around $1,200. I planned on covering these checks at a later date, but was not able to afford it at the time. The company that owns the service sent me one letter for each check that I placed a stop payment on but no other information. Is this a criminal offense? How should I resolve this issue? The company didn't include any information on how to pay back this debt.


While you certainly have a right to issue stop payments on checks, and your bank is obliged to honor such a stop payment if the checks have not already been paid, when you do so you could be accused, depending on applicable state laws, of check fraud or theft of services, defrauding an innkeeper, etc. It's not unusual for a collection effort for bounced checks to be pursued in timed stages. For example, a first letter may not be immediately followed by a second. There may be a waiting period before the next step in the collection process it taken.

Assuming you've kept the first letter from the collection company, there should be some form of contact information on it. Contact the company to make some arrangement for repaying the money you owe.

If you believe that you may be protected from having to pay for your gambling obligations, you should contact an attorney right away. The casino's service is not likely to ignore the fact that you've "stiffed" them. In addition to their collection efforts, they may be able to file a complaint with law enforcement and cause criminal charges to be brought against you. Published on 4/02/08