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Maryland Fraud Laws

Fraud is a set of crimes that covers a number of different laws and fraudulent behavior, including but not limited to: issuing bad checks (Sections 8-101 through 8-107), credit card crimes (Sections 8-201 through 8-209), and identity theft (Sections 8-301 through 8-305). The laws covering fraud are under Title 8 (Fraud and Related Crimes). Learn here how a Maryland fraud lawyer can help you if you are charged with a fraud crime in Maryland.

Issuing Bad Checks Sections 8-101 through 8-107

A term frequently used in these sections, “insufficient funds,” is defined in Section 8-102(a) as any situation where the person trying to issue the check has:

  • No account
  • No funds
  • Only a closed account
  • Funds that total an amount less than the amount required to cover the check

Obtaining Property or Services by Bad Check Section 8-103

A violation of this section can occur under several different circumstances. First, under Section 8-103(a) an individual may not issue a check to acquire property or services if:

  • The individual has knowledge that there are insufficient funds to cover the bad check and other outstanding checks,
  • Payment of the check is refused by the drawee (i.e., bank) upon presentment of the check, and;
  • The individual issues the check with the belief or intent that the payment will be refused by the drawee (usually a bank).

Second, an individual violates this section under Section 8-103(b) if the perpetrator acquires property or services by issuing a check if:

  • The perpetrator issues the check while knowing that he or she (or in some cases the perpetrator’s principal) intends to prevent the payment of the check or otherwise cause the drawee (usually a bank) to disregard, dishonor, or refuse to recognize the check – all without the consent of the person to whom the check is issued, and
  • The payment is ultimately refused by the bank (or other drawee) upon presentment of the check.

Third, an individual is guilty of obtaining property or services by bad check under Section 8-103(c) when the guilty party issues a check when all of the following are true:

  • The check is issued as payment for services that have been provided or that are to be provided by:
  • An employee of representative of the person issuing the check, or
  • An independent contractor hired by the person issuing the check or his or her representative. Section 8-103(c)(1).
  • The person issuing the check or that person’s representative:
  • When issuing the check, has the belief or intent that the payment will be refused by the bank (or other drawee) on presentment, or
  • Has knowledge that the person issuing the check has insufficient funds with the bank (or other drawee) to cover the check and other outstanding checks. Section 8-103(c)(2).
  • The employee of the person issuing the check (or that person’s representative), or an independent contractor hired by the person issuing the check proceed to pass the check on to a third person, AND
  • Payment is ultimately refused by the bank (or other drawee) upon presentment of the check. Section 8-103(c)(4).

Moreover, it is illegal under Section 8-103(d), passing check with knowledge that drawer has insufficient funds for a person to obtain services or property by check when:

  • The person passing the check has knowledge that the person who issued the check has insufficient funds with the bank (or other drawee) to cover the check and other outstanding checks,
  • The person passing the check as payment believes or has the intent that payment will be refused upon presentment of the check to the drawee, and
  • The payment of the check is (as the person expected) refused.

Lastly, it is illegal under Section 8-103(e), passing check with knowledge of stopped payment or dishonor, for a person to pass a check to acquire property or services when:

  • The person passing the check knows:
  • That the payment of the check has already been countermanded or stopped, or;
  • The drawee (i.e., bank) of the check will dishonor, disregard, or refuse to recognize the check, and
  • The payment is refused upon presentment of the check to the drawee. Section 8-103(e)(2).

Presumptions

It will be presumed that the person issuing the check has knowledge of insufficient funds with the drawee in any case where the person issuing the check actually had insufficient funds. Section 8-104(a). This means that the court will assume that a person issuing a check has full knowledge of the funds in his or her account.

Under Section 8-104(b) the law states that it will be presumed that the person issuing the check intends or believes that the check will be dishonored on presentment of the check when:

  • The person issuing the check had no account with the drawee, OR
  • The person issuing the check had insufficient funds with the drawee to cover the check in question and other outstanding checks when the person issued the check, AND
  • The check was presented for payment to the drawee within 30 days after the date of issuing the check, AND
  • The person issuing the check had insufficient funds with the drawee at the time the check was presented to the drawee.

Lastly, under Section 8-104(d) it will be presumed that the person issuing the check intended to countermand or stop the check when the person issued the check if (1) the person issuing the check (2) without the consent of the person being paid with the check (3) stopped or countermanded the payment of the check (or otherwise caused the drawee to dishonor, disregard, or refuse to recognize the check) (4) without returning the property to the owner or paying the original owner for the property or service. Section 8-104(d).

Penalties

If an individual acquires property or services worth $500 or more with one bad check, then the individual is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 8-106(a).

If an individual acquires property or services worth $500 or more with multiple bad checks then the individual is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Section 8-106(b). This only applies if the individual issued multiple bad checks (a) each worth less than $500, (b) the checks are all issued to the same person (c) within a 30-day period, and (d) the cumulative value of the services and/or property is $500 or more. Section 8-106(b).

If an individual procures property or services with a value less than $500 by issuing or passing bad checks then the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $100. Section 8-106(c).

If an individual acquires less than $100 in property or services through issuing or passing bad checks then that individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Section 8-106(d)(1).

Additionally, an individual guilty of obtaining property or services by bad check will be ordered by the court to restore the property to the owner or pay restitution for unrecoverable property or services to the victim of the bad check fraud, along with an additional $35 fee for each bad check. Section 8-107.

How a Maryland Fraud Lawyer Can Help

Fraud is accompanied by very heavy penalties in order to deter such a wide-spread crime. The jail time, fines, and negative effects of a permanent criminal record mean that it is in your best interest to consult with a Maryland fraud lawyer. Call us today for a free consultation.