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Q: CHEXSYSTEMS: What ID info do they have access to? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Question  
Subject: CHEXSYSTEMS: What ID info do they have access to?
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: henry041696-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 02 Apr 2003 16:20 PST
Expires: 02 May 2003 17:20 PDT
Question ID: 185139
Hi,

If an individual *does NOT* have a bad credit history, what
identification information does ChexSystems retrieve when a bank
contacts them?  In other words, apparently ChexSystems "verifies"
social security numbers, a banker told me. When ChexSystems enters a
social security number or driver's license number, precisely what
information do they come up with -- e.g., name, address, date of
birth, mother's maiden name? Or, do they simply retrieve a name
matching a social security number if there is no bad credit info?

Would greatly appreciate a speedy response.

Request for Question Clarification by robertskelton-ga on 02 Apr 2003 19:05 PST
Hi there,

They are obviously not going to be forthcoming with their precise
methods.

I found a white paper on their efunds site which looked promising, but
they do not divulge their sources.

Identity Verification: Product White Paper
http://www.efunds.com/us/en/about_efunds/whitepapers/000951.pdf#TopOfPage

Another paper says only:

"Various industry partners supply demographic data and verification
information, such as phone/zip code matching."
eFunds and Data Privacy
http://www.efunds.com/us/en/about_efunds/whitepapers/000950.pdf#TopOfPage

If you want, I can provide you with information on where and how
companies like theirs can obtain information like drivers license,
date of birth, SSN# verification.

Clarification of Question by henry041696-ga on 02 Apr 2003 20:55 PST
I guess what I'm wondering is whether they go to the trouble of doing
anything other than checking that an SSN matches a name for someone
applying for a checking account, for example.  That is, if they don't
get negative information popping up for that individual.  Negative
reports might contain personal info such as DL#, DOB, SSN, etc.  But,
when there is no negative info, since they run this check in less than
a minute in that case, they apparently have info that automatically
pops up when they input an SSN or DL#. Or, maybe nothing pops up at
all if there is no negative info. I did get the impression that they
do, at least, verify that the SSN given by a bank customer matches the
name given by that customer. I'm trying to find out if further info
comes up when there is no negative credit history on file, such as
DOB, etc.

I hope that clarified things a little.  Thanks!

Request for Question Clarification by missy-ga on 03 Apr 2003 10:40 PST
Hello Henry, 

I have an answer for you, but my banker spoke on the condition of
anonymity.  I don't want to post information that you can't verify for
yourself unless you are comfortable with that.  She has known me for
seven years and trusts that I will not compromise her position - I
cannot name her OR her bank.

I took a printed copy of your question to her and asked her to explain
the process.  It's very brief.  I can provide you with the publicly
available information, as well as the explanation given by my banker.

Is this acceptable to you?

--Missy

Clarification of Question by henry041696-ga on 03 Apr 2003 12:06 PST
Missy,

That would be fine and probably best answer my question. I thought
about making this question to your attention, originally, but wasn't
sure if you would still be available.

Thanks very much.

Henry
Answer  
Subject: Re: CHEXSYSTEMS: What ID info do they have access to?
Answered By: missy-ga on 03 Apr 2003 13:22 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Hello Henry!

I'm surprised you remembered me!  Yes, I'm available, I plan to stay
with Google Answers til the men in the white coats come to pry my
mouse out of my hand!

You probably already know this, but it does need to be included - this
is what happens when there *is* something on your ChexSystems report:

Sample Consumer Report
https://www.chexhelp.com:447/ChexHelp/chex/english/publik/sample.htm

It's a little different when there are no negative entries.

When I spoke with my banker this morning, she explained the process of
verifying an account through ChexSystems.  When one applies for an
account at this particular bank, they require your Social Security
number and your Driver's License or State Issued Identification card.

ChexSystems is then called for verification.  They ask the following
questions:

-- What is the applicant's date of birth?

-- What is the applicant's Social Security number?

-- What is the applicant's Driver's License/State ID number and state
of issue?

-- Has the applicant been a resident of [ insert state here ] for the
past five years?  (If the answer is no, they will ask for the previous
state of residence.)

If no negative information is in their files, the following
information is returned:

-- Date Social Security Number was issued

-- Whether or not the Driver's License/State ID number is a valid
format for the state of issue.

-- Whether ChexSystems has recently been queried for an applicant, and
what name, Social Security number, Driver's License/ID number and
state of current or previous residence was used on the application. 
(My banker tells me the time frame for retention of "recent" inquiries
is typically 6 - 8 weeks, but may be longer in some cases.)

That's it.  No other information is in the ChexSystems database unless
one has been reported to ChexSystems by a financial institution for a
"mis-handled account".

Financial institutions, as well as Deluxe Check Printers (and their
affiliates) routinely report information to ChexSystems:

"U.S. banks and credit unions report "mis-handled accounts" to
ChexSystems to protect themselves and other banks in the future. Some
of these incidents include:

    * Account closed "for cause".
      Banks differ greatly between them as to what valid reasons are
for closing an account.
    * Bank was unable to collect for an overdraft, ATM transaction, or
automatic payment that they honored on insufficient funds. Banks
report this to ChexSystems regardless of amount and often without
waiting more than a few days after mailing a notice!
    * Multiple overdrafts.
    * Savings Account, debit card or ATM abuse.
    * Fraud.
    * Providing false information in opening account."
[...]

"The company that owns ChexSystems, Deluxe Corporation, also owns
Current Checks (AKA Checks Unlimited), Designer Checks, EFunds
Corporation, SCAN (a.k.a. Shared Check Authorization Network), the
Debit Bureau, which tracks your check-writing history, and Deluxe
Direct Marketing Services."

[...]

" Every time you order blank checks from Deluxe or one of their
subsidiaries, information about you is sent to ChexSystems and their
collections agency and direct marketing relationships. This
information includes private, personal information such as your bank
account number, current addres, and more. This occurs only when you
order checks from Deluxe, Current Checks, Checks Unlimited, or
Designer checks. They transmit this information to their sister
companies ChexSystems, Debit Bureau, EFunds and SCAN."

[...]

"Along the same lines, did you know that information that you provide
to a bank in your bank account application also is given to
ChexSystems, Debit Bureau, EFunds and SCAN?"

ChexSystems Bites! About ChexSystems (from Google's cache)
http://makeashorterlink.com/?B28B31414

My banker confirms that this article is accurate.  Once an applicant's
name and information is used to query ChexSystems, the company shares
that information with all of its affiliates, ostensibly to help combat
fraud.  She says it is indeed effective - applicants who manage to
secure accounts for the purposes of fraud are invariably tripped up
when they try to obtain checks for these accounts, but with
information that is different from what they listed on their
applications.

On a side note, relating to information given to check printers - it
may appear that using a check printing program such as VersaCheck will
keep "off the radar" of the above listed companies.  This isn't so.  I
print my own checks because I refuse to pay upwards of $15 for a box
of checks and no one offers checks with a picture of the Golden Gate
Bridge on them, and discovered that rather than keep you "off the
radar", such home printed checks will increase your scrutiny.

My account was flagged as possibly fraudulent by a merchant who
accepted a home printed check from me.  The check cleared just fine,
but the merchant reported it to SCAN anyway "for my protection".  My
banker notified me of this one morning when a new teller called her
over and whispered frantically that the account had been flagged.  She
explained "That's because she prints her own checks.  It's OK, she's
been a customer here for years, and she's always printed her own."  My
account had been flagged for three years, but I was never informed
before, because the tellers knew me and just ignored the flag.  She
went on to explain that if I tried to cash one of my home printed
checks at another financial institution, they would have to call my
banker to verify the validity of the account - if they deigned to cash
the check at all!

Imagine my surprise.

Advise your client to use a bank that avails themselves of Harland
Check Printers, as that company does not report information to
ChexSystems, SCAN or any of their affiliates.

I hope this helps you, Henry!

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance!

--Missy

Request for Answer Clarification by henry041696-ga on 03 Apr 2003 19:43 PST
Missy,

Of course I remembered you. I should have followed my intuition and
posted this to your attention in the beginning! It's good to know
you'll be around at Google for contact in the future.  You're a great
writer and provide excellent information, as well.

I have a couple of questions related to your response, which was a
*very* informative one. There are a few things that I'm wondering
about and could probably pose as another question, but I don't want to
draw that much attention to some of these issues.  So, I'll consider
this as you answering additional questions and try to include fair
additional payment in the tip. Hope that's OK; I prefer it also
because I believe the tip goes directly to you and isn't "shared." If
there is any way that you can make this portion of the question, or
the question altogether, private and not viewable by the public, that
would be reassuring. It's possible that this may be beyond the scope
of what you can deal with, but if you do know how to obtain
answers/info, I'd appreciate it.  I'm not in the best position to be
drawing attention to this matter, politically, so to speak, and I'm
not sure I could come up with any attorneys who would know as much
about it as yourself/your banker.

If you recall, I'm not actually sure how much I said about this, but
some of my other questions made it apparent, I believe -- I have
"clients" who are often women trying to escape abusive/stalking
situations.  Sometimes they have children, sometimes pets, sometimes
they're on their own entirely. This can create a very desperate
situation for these women, esp. if their lives, or their children's or
pets lives, are being threatened and they don't have other family
members to rely on.  Often, they must leave their homes abruptly,
without all of their belongings, and move into a different state
quickly. Typically, they are not financially prepared for this. Thus,
some of them become "creative" about obtaining cash that doesn't
really belong to them, but in a manner that doesn't harm anyone (other
than an institution, like a bank, that they "borrow" money from
without permission, essentially; of course, with the assumption that
the bank is insured for what they "borrowed" and didn't return, or
with the hope that they can someday pay it back). The idea is that
what they are doing is non-violent and typically discloses their
identity, unlike other types of "robbery" or "theft" where identities
are hidden.

When I connect with some of these women, they have already done what I
will describe below, and I am trying to determine how to advise them
regarding this. Many of them fear they will be arrested if they don't
stay hidden, although I have not yet heard of that occurring (but it
may happen to others I haven't met). They feel they need to go
"underground" because of what they have done financially, as well as
to hide from their respective stalkers, considering the woman's fear
of children or pets not having her to care for them if she gets
arrested or killed/injured.

The first part of my question is this: what exactly is considered as
"fraud" by the banks/ChexSystems?  For example, if a woman
simultaneously opens several checking accounts before she has a
negative history, deposits a check from her original bank into each
account, knowing the checks won't clear (an average check amount is
~$750), and then withdraws the funds when they become available
(before the check bounces), she has essentially written numerous bad
checks (NSF) that she collected the funds on.  This does not seem like
it would be fraud since she used her own checks, although sometimes
from an account that has been previously closed -- maybe that would
make it fraud?  What kind of crime do banks consider this to be? Also,
it seems that the banks don't tend to report it to police or courts,
but to ChexSystems -- is this correct? Maybe it depends on the amount
that was withdrawn but not covered?  Sometimes they will deposit
several of their own checks over two days or so and then withdraw
perhaps $2,500 before the checks bounce (i.e., original bank responds
with "account closed" or "insufficient funds"). So, if the total loss
to a bank is under a certain amount, would that explain why they don't
go to the police or court system with a complaint (e.g., maybe it's
not worth their time/cost)?

In another scenario, I have come across women using a deceased woman's
SSN, where the last name is the same as theirs but the birth date and
first name are different. What they use for 'mother's maiden name'
doesn't seem to matter; does that make sense? If ChexSystems doesn't
get that info, since you didn't mention it, then I guess they wouldn't
know the difference there. These women seem to be able to talk their
way through the first name being different (e.g., say to clerk: "I use
my middle name as my first name, which is how my DL reads, but you
might find my first name recorded with ChexSystems as [the other
woman's first name]"), and they tell me they gave the banks their own
birth dates since that is what was on their DL/ID, even when the SSN
came from someone decades older than themselves. They use their own
actual photo identification/driver's licenses when they do this.  This
would seem more like fraud because they are not using their own SSN's
(this would be at a point when they needed more cash but their SSN was
registering negatively with ChexSystems).

I am surprised, though, that the Driver's License or photo ID number
did not connect them to their own ChexSystems record, even though the
SSN was different.  The SSN's are chosen from a death long enough ago
that it would not have a credit report of any form.  Apparently,
ChexSystems does not know if an SSN belongs to a deceased person;
maybe they don't get a name to match an SSN at all unless there is
negative history? It's possible that this was luck or circumstance,
but based on what you told me, I would think they would need a DL/ID
from a new state along with this fraudulent SSN to avoid the negative
ChexSystems history or getting caught using another's SSN. Perhaps
they did this; I know some did, but it seems that some didn't (get a
new DL# from a new state).

One woman told me she was questioned about the different first name
that ChexSystems had, but the differing birthdates never came up
(however, the questions seemed to arise because she used an SSN from
someone who was living).  Ultimately, they simply wanted her to come
back with her social security card. So, she just never returned to
that particular bank. That is the only time, of many, that I heard of
a bank even being concerned about this at all. Apparently, some
accounts did get flagged and funds were held too long to be withdrawn
before bouncing, but that only occurred after the fraudulent SSN had
been used several times to withdraw funds (leaving behind overdrawn
accounts).

I am trying to understand this so that I can determine how much
trouble they might be in (or might not, criminally). These women have
good reason to be desperate and I understand why they do this. The
government should have a better system for protecting them, as in
making it a little easier for them to get a new identity. A lot has
been written about this governmental shortcoming as many women "on the
run" or "ready to run" from abusers/stalkers get killed and the
perpetrator is not always sentenced for it (lack of evidence, etc.).
While I lobby for governmental support for this problem, which is the
only answer I see for this (more police protection and identity
protection/change once they leave), I would rather see this type of
crime being committed than a violent crime or the risk involved with
street peddling/begging, esp. w/children. I don't suggest that these
women do this at banks, but I do want to get the proper counsel for
them if they are likely to face criminal charges for doing it.  If it
only affects their credit/ChexSystems, they won't be concerned about
that immediatly and it is something they might be able to take care of
down the road. But, if it is possible that criminal charges would be
filed, I want to be aware of that so that if they can be arrested once
they publicize their identity, I'll have someone on hand to represent
them and try to settle the matter if that's possible (rather than
doing jail time, which I assume is a possible outcome).

You mentioned that ChexSystems asks for the applicant's date of birth.
I am a little puzzled that they ask for that but then let SSN's pass
that have different dates of birth than those the applicants above
give via their IDs. Also, these applicants often give false previous
states of residence because they are avoiding connection with the
state where the stalker resides, in case he might somehow be made
aware of their new state of residence (unlikely, but they're fearful).
I'm wondering if some of this information is only paid attention to
when there is negative information on file?

If the date the SSN was issued is returned to ChexSystems, that must
come from the Social Security Administration, ultimately.  If they get
a date back that is before the applicant was born, I guess there would
be some concern. Maybe that is one of the reasons they ask for the
DOB, along with double-checking the IDs on any negative info that
shows up. Since it doesn't seem that they match the DOB on the license
with the DOB that goes with the SSN?

Also, since these women have often opened up numerous bank accounts
within the same day or couple of weeks, I would think that would be an
issue. Considering they use the same name and, typically, the same DL
and SSN for numerous accounts, I'm surprised this wasn't a problem
(flagged for numerous bank applications). Is it possible that there
are different levels of ChexSystems "surveillance," depending on what
a bank pays for? If ChexSystems checks on all of these things, I am
concerned that somehow these women slipped through the cracks perhaps
because the clerks trusted them, and may be in some pretty serious
trouble.  Bottom line, you could say that they stole, for example,
$750-$2,500 from 3-10 different banks (~$7,500-$15,000 total, on
average) over a period of one-8 weeks, to get resettled. I wonder if
ChexSystems would report such trends to the police or if they leave
these things up to the banks? The names and birth dates would remain
the same, while they may have switched SSNs and/or DLs during the
process. I am really surprised that numerous women have gotten away
with this. But, my role is to make sure there is someone on hand for
legal counsel if there is a chance they could be arrested for this.
That, of course, would depend on whether banks tend to report these
things criminally or whether ChexSystems might, I suppose.

Since these women were sent checks from every institution they opened
an account with, that also makes it surprising that they weren't
caught doing this. They all did this independently and did not know
each other, so I wonder if there's some kind of advising going on
about this in crisis groups.  I don't want my posting here to end up
putting ChexSystems on alert, so I hope that can't happen. I think
these banks can probably afford to make a donation to a woman/children
in need considering they probably give sizable donations to other
organizations.  I wouldn't advise people to do this because I'd be
concerned that they'd get in some serious trouble, but I don't want to
blow the whistle on this either... not for this group, anyway. 
They're not "stealing" drug money, you know?  I hate to say it, but
more aggressive people in their states of desperation might be
violently stealing money with absolutely no intention of making
restitution for it.  These women talk about making donations once
they're settled again to compensate for what they "borrowed" if it
isn't practical to pay the banks back. They're not criminally-minded
people.

Well, sorry this is so long. I'm hoping you might be able to make some
sense out of this for me.  I plan to pass it on to a legal counselor
(everyone is anonymous, of course) who can then advise these women,
assuming that might be necessary.  If you tell me banks aren't likely
to press criminal charges for this type of thing, I won't feel like I
need to have someone available for this in the event they get
arrested. But, I will counsel them about finding other ways to come up
with funds. They aren't the type of people to continue this type of
activity, though, they just needed something to get them into a new,
safe life.

Again, if it's possible to delete this portion somehow, after you
respond to it, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,
Henry

Clarification of Answer by missy-ga on 03 Apr 2003 22:53 PST
Oh, Henry.

These ladies need attorneys.  They are in *trouble*, and if they
continue to try to obtain bank accounts in this manner, they're only
going to make their situations *worse*, not better by any means.

Let me address the ChexSystems information first:

If there is no negative information in the ChexSystems database, it
only confirms the date that the Social Security Number was issued, and
that the *format* of the Driver's License/State ID number is valid. 
It does not confirm the name of the holder of the SSN or the name
associated with the DL/ID.  It does not confirm the validity of the
DL/ID itself, only the format of the number.

For example, if Ohio's format is AB-CD-12345-67-E, and someone uses
what purports to be an Ohio ID with the format ABC-1234-DE-56,
ChexSystem will say only "Invalid format for Ohio".  This of course
would raise a flag - it doesn't mean the bank will automatically
decline to open an account, but it may prompt them to ask questions.

The same is true for the validity of an SSN - if your client is 45,
and the SSN was issued the same year she was born or even a few years
after, banks will typically not pay this any attention.  It's common
to apply for a child's SSN right from your hospital bed (when my
children were born, they brought the papers right to my room!)

If she's 45 and the SSN was issued recently, banks *might* look
askance, or they might just assume that her purse had been stolen and
she opted to apply for a brand new SSN.

My banker did not specify how soon application data is submitted to
ChexSystems or how long it takes them to process it.  It may very well
be that it takes them several days to add it to their system, which
would account for the women who've "slipped past".  It may also be
that the bankers noted that the SSN and DL numbers were the same, but
the names were only slightly different and shrugged it off.  It's not
unusual for people to use their nickname or alias out of habit when
filling out forms (I signed my check "Missy" the other day!), and
inattentive bankers will sometimes let this slide or will accept the
explanation that "I'm called Missy at work!".

(Or they used to, at any rate.  Since the passage of the USA-PATRIOT
act in 2001, most banks are tightening scrutiny.  I am doubtful that
these women could pull this off today.)

How soon negative information is added to the ChexSystems database
depends on state statutes.  In most states, banks cannot submit the
information until the person who bounced the check has had 10 days
from the date they were notified to make restitution.

It may take up to ten days to determine whether a check has cleared. 
If Jill writes a check to her Ohio bank, drawn on her closed
California bank account on April 1, her bank may release the funds the
next day, but not actually know if the check was good until April 10. 
They will then send a notice to her, which will likely be postmarked
on the 11th and delivered on the 12th.  She has until the 22nd to make
good on the check.  If she doesn't, the bank may (as my bank does)
charge her a $5 *per item* *per day* "sustained overdraft" fee for up
to 10 more business days before closing the account and reporting her
to ChexSystems.  That brings us to May 2 before her information is
reported, and it may take several days after that for it to be
processed and fully entered into the system.

By that time, she's moved on to a different identification set.  (This
is not good, incidentally.  This will only get her into more trouble
further down the line.  A *lot* more.)

ChexSystems does not alert police to anything.  Like credit bureaus,
they are merely information repositories.  Likewise, the information
you've provided here isn't going to "alert" ChexSystems.  ChexSystems
accepts *specific* information (names, account numbers, SSNs, etc.)
from financial institutions, not general information from research
websites.

It's up to the individual banks to report their losses - and most of
them *do*.  How vigorously this sort of fraud is prosecuted depends
largely on the bank's policies, not on the amount lost.  This varies
wildly from state to state and bank to bank - some banks simply turn
it over to a collection agency, others turn it over to the State
Attorney General's office.


Now, about those bounced checks...
  
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their check "kiting", and
regardless of the amount, writing a check in the full knowledge that
it will bounce is a criminal act in every state of the union, no
matter whose account the check is drawn on.  Even if it's only for a
dollar, if you know it will bounce, it's fraud.  The dollar amount
only determines whether it's a smaller fraud or a gigantic fraud
(misdemeanor or felony).

In Missouri, willfully bouncing a check of $150 or more is a FELONY!

"In Missouri, bouncing a check for more than $150 is a felony
punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Checks for
less than that amount are punishable by up to $1,000 fine and one year
in the county jail."

Official expects ’01 bad-check collections to top $1 million
(from the ST.LOUIS POST-DISPATCH January 11, 2001)
http://www.djonesassoc.com/bcps_newspaper.htm

Cherokee County (GA) calls it "Deposit Account Fraud":

"O.C.G.A. 16-9-20 - Deposit Account Fraud.


    (a)  A person commits the offense of deposit account fraud when
such person makes, draws, utters, executes, or delivers an
instrument for the payment of money on any bank or other depository
in exchange for a present consideration or wages, knowing that it
will not be honored by the drawee."

They prosecute, too:

"(b) (1)  Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this
subsection and subsection (c) of this Code section, a person
convicted of the offense of deposit account fraud shall be guilty
of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished as
follows: 
        (A) When the instrument is for less than $100.00, a fine of
not more than $500.00 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, or
both; 
        (B) When the instrument is for $100.00 or more but less
than $300.00, a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment not
to exceed 12 months, or both; or 
        (C) When more than one instrument is involved and such
instruments were drawn within 90 days of one another and each is in
an amount less than $100.00, the amounts of such separate
instruments may be added together to arrive at and be punishable
under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph. 
      (2) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection
and subsection (c) of this Code section, a person convicted of the
offense of deposit account fraud, when the instrument is for an
amount of not less than $300.00 nor more than $499.99, shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. When more
than one instrument is involved and such instruments were given to
the same entity within a 15 day period and the cumulative total of
such instruments is not less than $300.00 nor more than $499.99,
the person drawing and giving such instruments shall upon
conviction be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated
nature. 
      (3) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code
section, a person convicted of the offense of deposit account
fraud, when the instrument is for $500.00 or more, shall be guilty
of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a
fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $5,000.00 or by
imprisonment for not more than three years, or both. 
      (4) Upon conviction of a first or any subsequent offense
under this subsection or subsection (c) of this Code section, in
addition to any other punishment provided by this Code section, the
defendant shall be required to make restitution of the amount of
the instrument, together with all costs of bringing a complaint
under this Code section. Costs shall be determined by the court
from competent evidence of costs provided by the party causing the
criminal warrant or citation to issue; provided, however, that the
minimum costs shall not be less than $25.00. Restitution may be
made while the defendant is serving a probated or suspended
sentence. 
    (c)  A person who commits the offense of deposit account fraud
by the making, drawing, uttering, executing, or delivering of an
instrument on a bank of another state shall be guilty of a felony
and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for
not less than one nor more than five years or by a fine in an
amount of up to $1,000.00, or both."

Criminal Bad Check Statute
http://www.cccourt.com/16920.shtml

The Tennessee Wortheless Check Law is briefly summarized here:

"FRAUDULENT INTENT

A bad check is a criminal matter only when the perpetrator passes it
knowingly or with fraudulent intent. This intent is one of the
elements which must be proved in court. In the real world many people
occasionally bounce a check due to carelessness, sloppy arithmetic, or
various other innocent accidents. This does not excuse them from
making the check good so that the victim is not "out," but the matter
is nevertheless not criminal unless it is established that the
perpetrator knew when he passed the check that it would be no good,
and that he did so intending to defraud the victim. "

Bad Check Prosecution - Basic Bad Check Law
http://www.attorneygeneral.org/gencheck.html

The Los Angeles District Attorney has a special program for bounced
checks:

Bad Check Restitution Program
http://da.co.la.ca.us/badcheck/default.htm

Every state has such laws, some much harsher than others.  If you know
you're passing a worthless check you could find yourself in some very,
very hot water.  If you *continue* to do so, no matter what your
reasons or circumstances, it will just get hotter.

It gets worse.  Look what Federal law says about the use of false
identification:

"1501 False Identification -- 18 U.S.C.  1028 -- Overview

    The False Identification Crime Control Act of 1982, Public Law
97-398, 96 Stat. 2009 (approved December 31, 1982) was the culmination
of a ten-year legislative process to improve federal criminal statutes
relating to the false identification problem. It was the outgrowth of
a comprehensive study on the criminal use of false identification made
by the Justice Department sponsored Federal Advisory Committee on
False Identification (FACFI) in the mid-1970's. The Department of
Justice strongly supported the legislative effort. The False
Identification Crime Control Act created two new statutes: (1) 18
U.S.C.  1028, entitled "Fraud and related activity in connection with
identification documents," which deals with governmental
identification documents; and (2) 18 U.S.C.  1738, entitled "Mailing
private identification documents without a disclaimer," which deals
with non-governmental identification documents."

1501 False Identification -- 18 U.S.C.  1028 -- Overview
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm01501.htm

"1502 Prosecuting Violations of 18 U.S.C  1028

    Section 1028 of Title 18 does not supplant or replace any existing
criminal provision which may be applicable to a particular
identification document. However, because of its broad coverage and
realistic penalties, it will normally be the vehicle by which many
false identification violations are pursued. Of course, depending upon
the particular circumstances of an individual situation, other
provisions of applicable federal statutes may be utilized where the
prosecutor believes that to be warranted."

1502 Prosecuting Violations of 18 U.S.C  1028
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm01502.htm

In other words, if you get caught using false ID, depending on the
circumstances under which you used it, you may be subject to *Federal*
prosecution.

It's for reasons such as the cases you've described that there has
been a push for a Federal identification system.  The following
testimony before the House Judiciary Committee may be of some interest
to you:

U.S. SECRET SERVICE
Statement of Larry F. Stewart, Asst. Laboratory Director, U.S. Secret
Service
For Presentation to the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on
Immigration and Claims July 22, 1999
http://www.house.gov/judiciary/stew0722.htm


While I understand your sympathy for these women (and they certainly
have mine), what they are doing is illegal and their actions *do*
ultimately hurt other people, as well as themselves.  Banks pass on
the costs of fraud in the form of higher fees and even more stringent
security.  They're actually helping to make it *harder* for women in
their situation to get bank accounts or even emergency loans to help
get them out of their situations.

It's because of fraud such as this that the honest fella who
accidentally forgets to record a check and ends up bouncing one gets
charged $30 for his mistake, instead of the $1 or $2 it actually costs
to process the error, and the battered woman with the *very* sketchy
credit history can't get a loan sufficient to cover the expense of
escaping her abuser.  There is no lenience anymore, because of
increased demand to combat fraud.

Please, Henry, do *not* encourage these women to continue, and urge
those that have done this to get an attorney and arrange to make
restitution.  Although the statutes call for prison terms as possible
punishment, it's not mandatory in most cases.  These ladies will need
to discuss their options with an attorney who specializes in "battered
women" cases (Referrals can be had from the State Bar Association),
and get arrangements made to begin making restitution.  A competent
attorney may be able to help obtain arrangements that result in
probation or suspended sentence (no jail time) and reduced or waived
fines while restitution is being made.

In the meantime, Henry, I urge you to have these women avail
themselves of *legal* means to escape their abusers/stalkers.  There
are numerous shelters across the country which provide resources and
assistance for getting women out of dangerous situations.  If you'd
like a Researcher to investigate these options, you may post a
question about them.

With respect to making your query private, I'm afraid I am unable to
do that myself.  Questions and answers posted to Google Answers are
publicly viewable.  However, if you are uncomfortable with leaving
this public after you've closed out the question (rated, commented on,
etc.), you may write to the Editors
[ answers-editors@google.com ] to have the whole thing removed.

On a different note, I'd like to thank you for your kind compliment. 
I'm glad that you are pleased with my work and that you trust me to
handle your information.

--Missy

Clarification of Answer by missy-ga on 03 Apr 2003 23:48 PST
Henry, 

While poking around a bit more, I came across some reporting
statistics that might interest you (how long it takes for banks to
report negative information to ChexSystems):

"Bank Referrals to ChexSystems

The banking industry does not have uniform policies for reporting
borrower checking account information to the ChexSystems database. 
Banks have different tolerances regarding the amount of an overdraft
and the number of days of an overdraft before they report to
ChexSystems.  Two banks responding to the survey reported that
policies varied within their organization by branch or by region.

Five banks indicated that they had both a dollar amount and a time
threshold that they applied for deciding when to report borrower
account information to ChexSystems.  One bank waited 60 days to see if
an overdraft would be repaid before reporting to ChexSystems.   The
least amount of time a surveyed bank waited was 30 days, and the
average time period of surveyed banks was 45 days.  Two banks did not
report customer account history to ChexSystems until the overdraft
exceeded $100.  On the other end of the scale, one bank reported an
overdraft if the overdraft dollar amount was more than $35.  Another
bank changed its dollar threshold from $50 in 1999 to $100 in 2000. 
The average dollar threshold in 1999 was $67 for the banks surveyed
(average threshold dollar amounts are not reported for 2000 because
only one bank changed its threshold level from 1999 to 2000).   Before
closing an account, one bank stated that it informed a checking
account holder two to three times via mail that the failure to pay off
an overdraft would result in the closing of an account and a report to
a credit agency.

The bank with the lowest dollar threshold level referred the most
customers to ChexSystems (5 percent of checking account customers in
1999 and 4 percent in 2000).  The bank with one of the more lenient
policies in terms of dollar and time period threshold only referred .2
percent of their checking account customers to ChexSystems in 1999 and
2000.  On average, surveyed banks referred 2.6 percent of their
customers to ChexSystems in 1999 and 1.8 percent in 2000.  While two
banks became more lenient in their policies in 2000, it cannot be
concluded that the change in policy alone resulted in a reduction of
referrals to the ChexSystem.  The survey sample size is too small and
cannot adequately account for differences in regional economic
conditions to reach definitive conclusions regarding the impact of
policy changes on referral rates.  However, survey results certainly
suggest that the banks with the more lenient policies refer fewer
customers to ChexSystems."

ChexSystems:  Disenfranchisement or Risk Management Tool?

I've made the report available for you to download in full here:

http://www.darkfriends.net/princessmoo/extras/ChexSystemReport.rtf

--Missy
henry041696-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $75.00
Missy,

Wow! I'm really glad I asked you about this. It's not something I
would normally post, but I had a feeling you might be able to shed
light on this. You did a very encompassing, outstanding job of
informing me here, and actually fully responded to two topics. I
didn't realize how bad this situation was for these women, although I
assumed the banks could press criminal charges. But, I had no idea how
intense this could get. I will need to find an attorney who will work
with them on this. I'm sitting here feeling a little stunned because I
really should have been more emphatic that they not continue to do
this. I was worried that I might be giving someone ideas if they read
the details here, but I feel a little better since it's followed by
all of your citations against it -- that ought to dissuade people.
Well, thank you once again for an exceptional and speedy job. Take
care and I imagine I'll have a question for you again in the future,

Henry

Comments  
Subject: Re: CHEXSYSTEMS: What ID info do they have access to?
From: sparkles21-ga on 19 Jan 2005 09:12 PST
 
I found a great source for ChexSystems information 
http://aboutmycredit.com/chexsystems_solutions.htm

This other site tells you step by step how to get removed from Chexsystems. 

http://badcreditinfo.com/how_to_get_off_chexsystems.htm

I even found a list of non Chexsystems banks!

http://badcreditinfo.com/non_chexsystems_banks.htm

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