Check Enforcement Unit

Help Us Stop Bad Checks

Each year in America, victims of worthless checks lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Writing a worthless check drawn on non-sufficient funds or closed accounts is a crime. This form of theft is a major contributor to retail bankruptcies. Our Check Enforcement Unit can help you stop this theft and protect you and your business. 

Our office prosecutes those who writes bad checks, taking money from hard-working Mobile County citizens. Clear Your Name – One Check at a Time! Check our Worthless Check Writer Database to see how much you owe and make a payment today! 

Begin the Recovery Process

Under Alabama law, we can only recover certain checks. We cannot help recover checks that were written for a lease, rent or loan payment, or for a cash advance where a contract of any kind was signed. Filing a claim in small claims court may collect checks such as these. You may wish to consult your attorney.

We also cannot help recover checks that are stamped by the bank with STOP PAYMENT, IRREGULAR SIGNATURE, FROZEN ACCOUNT, FROZEN FUNDS, or FORGED. Checks that are stamped with IRREGULAR SIGNATURE or FORGED should be reported as forgeries to your local police department, the Mobile City Police Department or Mobile County Sheriff’s Department.

We CAN help recover bad checks that meet these criteria:

  • Recovery initiated by payee within one year of the check date;
  • Transaction took place in Mobile County;
  • No payments made on the check;
  • Check processed by the bank and stamped with one of the following reasons for its return unpaid: NSF, REFER TO MAKER, ENDORSEMENT CANCELLED, ACCOUNT CLOSED or NO ACCOUNT FOUND.
If the check is stamped NSF, REFER TO MAKER or ENDORSEMENT CANCELLED:
  1. Use the U.S. Mail to send a certified notice (see below) with return receipt requested to the check writer. This notice must be sent to the address on the check and must give the check writer 10 business days from the receipt of notice to make the check good. If the check is from a business, the notice must be sent to the person who signed the check. Download Check Notice Letter.
  2. Save the green card that will be returned to you by the post office after the notice has been delivered. You must give the check writer 10 business days from the day the notice was delivered to pay the check and the service fee to you. Do not accept less than the full amount requested in the notice because once partial payment is accepted it becomes a civil matter and cannot be criminally prosecuted. If the notice is returned to you “Refused” or “Undeliverable”, do not open it and, do not throw it away. Follow steps 3-5.
  3. Fill out the Worthless Check Information Sheet with as much information about the check writer as you can provide. It can be printed or you can request a copy by calling us at (251) 574-5775. After printing and completing the sheet, attach the check to the top left hand corner and the green card from the post office to the back. Download CEU Affidavit Paperwork.
  4. Mail the completed form to us at P.O. Box 1605, Mobile, 36633, or drop it off at our office on the fifth floor of Government Plaza. If you would like to review the form with us or get any other assistance, we will be glad to talk with you by phone or to set up an appointment at our office. Our phone number is (251) 574-5775.
  5. Do not accept payment from the check writer once the check has been filed with our office. Payments must be made to the Check Enforcement Unit only. Under Alabama law, you must pay a $30.00 fee if you or someone from your business takes a payment on a check that is filed with our office.
If the check is stamped ACCOUNT CLOSED or NO ACCOUNT FOUND, a certified mail notice is not required.  Follow steps 3-5 only. After You Take These Steps, We Will Do The Rest. We operate with the full authority of the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office and the laws of the State of Alabama. If, after 6 weeks, you have not received a check from our office, please call to determine the status of the recovery effort on the check(s) you reported. Also, if you would like a monthly print out concerning the status of your check(s), we can mail, fax, or e-mail this information upon your request.

We are firm and polite in our enforcement of checking laws. Our Check Enforcement team members can help bad check writers who cooperate by arranging payment plans. They can also refer counseling to those individuals who need to learn how to be more responsible in their use of checks. In addition to working with people who cooperate, our Check Enforcement Team is also experienced in skip tracing, arresting, and prosecuting those who choose not to cooperate.

  • Obtain as much information as possible about check writers, especially a complete address.
  • Write the driver’s license and phone number of the check writer on the check.

Frequently asked questions

A worthless check is a check written without having sufficient funds to cover the amount of the check or a check written on a closed account.

These checks are marked by the bank as one of the following: Non Sufficient Funds (NSF), Refer to Maker, Endorsement Cancelled, Account Closed or Account Not Found.

Checks marked “forged” or “irregular signature” are not handled by the Check Enforcement Unit and should be forwarded to the police or sheriff’s department for investigation. The Mobile Police Department may be reached at (251) 208-7211. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Department may be reached at (251) 574-8633.

Checks marked “stop payment” or “account frozen” are also not handled by the Check Enforcement Unit but may be collectable through civil or Small Claims Court.

The Worthless Check Unit cannot process two-party checks. These are civil in nature and may be collectable through civil or Small Claims Court. Mobile County’s Small Claims Court may be reached at 251-574-8525.

Currently, checks exceeding a face value of $2,500.00 are not accepted by the Worthless Check Unit. Checks over this amount may be collectable through civil proceedings. In some instances, these checks may qualify for felony prosecution. You may contact the Mobile Police Department or the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department at the telephone numbers above to see if this applies to your situation.

A person commits a misdemeanor offense called Negotiating a Worthless Negotiable Instrument or NWNI any time a writer issues a check for something of value without having the funds in the bank to cover that check.

Negotiating a Worthless Negotiable Instrument (NWNI) is a crime punishable by restitution, fines, fees, and up to one year in jail.

Generally, the District Attorney’s Office takes the approach that the person writing the check wants to make good on it. The check writer is usually given an opportunity to pay the face value of the check and the associated fees mandated by law before an arrest is made.

However, there are some individuals who willingly refuse to pay restitution for their worthless checks. These individuals will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Intent is an element of the crime of issuing a worthless check. A person is presumed to have the intent to pass a bad check if the writer does not have an open account at the time that the check is presented or if writer of the check fails to pay the check holder the amount of the check plus a service charge (currently not to exceed $30) within ten (10) days after receiving written notice from the holder of the check that payment on the check was refused.

The holder of the check is only obligated to send notice of non-payment to the address on the check or the address provided in writing by the check writer at the time that the check was presented. It is the check writer’s responsibility to make sure that the information contained on the face of the check is valid.

Any person or business that has received a worthless check while transacting business in Mobile County may utilize the services of the Worthless Check Unit.

There is no cost to the victim for filing a complaint with the Worthless Check Unit.

No. If you have accepted a partial payment but have been unable to collect the balance due, you may be able to pursue the matter in civil or small claims court.

Also, please note that acceptance of a full or partial payment after a complaint has been filed with the Worthless Check Unit will require you to withdraw the complaint and pay a $30 service fee to the Worthless Check Unit.

No. By agreeing to hold a check for a period of time, you have implicitly stated your understanding and acceptance that the check was not good at the time it was presented. Such an agreement between a check writer and a merchant precludes the filing of a criminal complaint. If this is the case, you may consider having the matter adjudicated in civil/small claims court.

To file a complaint and obtain a warrant against a worthless check writer, you must provide the following:

(a) the green certified mail card from the U.S. Post Office containing the signature of the individual who accepted the 10-day letter –or- the entire 10-day letter (unopened) if the letter was returned to you unclaimed (click here for a copy of the 10 day notice letter);

(b) a LEGAL COPY of the check from your bank (we can not accept a copy of the legal copy);

(c) the Affidavit form that must be signed in front of a magistrate (click here for a copy of this form).

You may bring the required documentation to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Worthless Check Unit at 205 Government Street, Suite C-501, located on the 5th floor in the North Tower at Government Plaza. Turn to your left when you get off of the elevator on the 5th floor.

If you wish to save time by mailing this information to the Worthless Check Unit at PO Box 1605, Mobile, AL 36633-1605, our office will call you when the warrant is ready for your signature.

Our telephone number is (251) 574-5775. Our Merchant Line is (251) 574-5776.

After a complaint has been filed with our office, we attempt to contact the check writer via mail and telephone. The check writer must make restitution directly to the Worthless Check Unit. Restitution consists of the face value of the check, a victims’ service charge, and a State of Alabama District Attorney service charge. These service fees are mandated by law.

If a check writer is unable or unwilling to pay restitution for his or her worthless check to the Worthless Check Unit, that individual can opt to surrender on the warrant and have the charge adjudicated in District Court. If the check writer chooses this option, he or she will also be responsible for costs of court and any additional fines that may be imposed by the judge. He or she may also be required to post a bond to get out of jail prior to the court hearing

When a complaint is filed and a warrant is issued, the check writer is given a ten (10) day grace period to remit full restitution to this office. If the check writer is unable to pay in full by that time, he or she MUST contact our office to discuss a restitution agreement. A Restitution Agreement is an agreement between the Worthless Check unit and the check writer allowing additional time to pay restitution. While our office does not accept partial payments, under certain circumstances we may agree to extend the 10 day grace period. Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if a restitution agreement will be offered and, if so, how much time will be allowed for the payment of each check.

When a complaint is filed and a warrant is issued, the check writer is given a ten (10) day grace period to remit full restitution to this office. If the check writer is unable to pay in full by that time, he or she MUST contact our office to discuss a restitution agreement. A Restitution Agreement is an agreement between the Worthless Check unit and the check writer allowing additional time to pay restitution. While our office does not accept partial payments, under certain circumstances we may agree to extend the 10 day grace period. Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if a restitution agreement will be offered and, if so, how much time will be allowed for the payment of each check.

Typically, you should receive the restitution within 45 days from the time it is received by our office.

If a check writer fails to respond to attempts to contact him or her, it may be because we do not have a valid address or telephone number for that individual. Skip tracing (locating) defendants takes time. If after 90 days you have not received restitution for a check you have submitted to our office for collection please feel free to call our office at (251) 574-5776 to check on the status of the case.

You have the following payment options:

  1. You may pay in person at the Check Enforcement Unit located on the 5th floor of Government Plaza at 205 Government Street between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  2. You may mail a cashier’s check or money order for the full amount due to PO Box 1605, Mobile, AL 36633-1605. Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you would like a receipt. Personal checks are not accepted and will be returned.
  3. You may pay by phone using our automated system by calling 1 (877) 958-8454.
  4. You may pay online at www.mobileda.org. You will need your file number in order to make a payment.