What Do I Do With a Bad Check?


A person or business receiving a check returned by their bank because of insufficient funds, a closed account, or no account, must complete a bad check complaint form, provided by this department. The original check and completed bad check form can be mailed to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, 7900 Carondelet, Level 1, Clayton, Missouri, 63105 or taken there in person. A Ten Day Letter, demanding payment, will be mailed to the suspect. The prosecutor will collect the amount of the check as well as an administrative fee. The collected funds will then be sent directly to the victim.

If payment is not made after ten days, the check and a ten day letter report will be mailed back to the victim. Upon receipt of the check and report, the victim should contact the Chesterfield Police Department to file a criminal report.

The original check and copy of the Ten Day Letter report must be provided at the time of the report. Efforts to arrange payment will be made by the reporting officer and if payment is not received, the case will be assigned to the Detective Bureau for follow up investigation.

A Ten Day Letter is not necessary when a check has been forged. Upon notification and presentation of the forged check, a police report will be completed.

Stop Payment
When a check is returned Stop Payment, a Ten Day Letter must be sent by the person or business who received it. The letter must contain the following:

  • The check must be fully identified as to amount, date, check number, who it was made out to and for what.
  • Request an explanation and specify how a response should be made. Provide a name, address and phone number for them to contact.
  • Advise that a response is needed in ten days or the matter will be turned over to the Prosecuting Attorney. After ten days, a police report can be filed.

Because of legal technicalities, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office will not prosecute the following kinds of checks, as specified in their Merchant's Handbook for Bad Checks:

  1. Checks drawn on banks located outside Missouri.
  2. Third Party Checks.
  3. Undated or post-dated checks.
  4. Checks for which you have received partial payment.
  5. Checks which you agreed to hold before cashing.
  6. Checks returned marked "Refer to Maker" or "Uncollected Funds"

There may be circumstances which bring some of these exceptions into question. We will make every effort to address your problem and help with a solution.


  • Lack of identification by the victim or their agents.
  • Locating former employees who accepted the check.
  • Poor or no information on the suspect.
  • Lack of cooperation by banks.
  • Elapsed time between passing and reporting.
  • Lack of original documents (checks).
  • Poor identification requirements.


  • Demand a good photo ID with some type of back up which includes the same name and other identifying information.
  • Match this information with check and contact bank if in doubt.
  • Validate who took the check (initials, their clock #, etc.).
  • Identify sex and race of passer (in code or anyway you can recall at a later date). As an example: Who was J.P. Jones? If you know the sex and race you cut the identification in half. Can you imagine how many John Jones there are, and does the J. stand for Jane?
  • Report all checks in a timely manner.
  • Establish a good check policy and stick to it.
  • Provide original checks and paperwork at the time of the report.
  • Designate one or more persons to work with authorities on bad checks. They should be able to answers questions and make decisions.
  • Any questions? Call 636-537-3000 and we'll provide an answer.