Crime Trackers

May 16, 2013 8:57 PM by Lupita Murillo

Bad check round up by Co. Atty's office

TUCSON - Bad check writers beware.

A massive sweep underway today to pick up people who haven't made good on their bad checks.

According the Pima County Attorney's office, the passing of bad checks continues to be a very serious problem. Since the program started in 1996, the office has been able to collect millions of dollars to help reimburse individuals or merchants for their losses.

Teams of detectives from the county attorney's office were given 60 warrants. Keith St. John says, "The people that we're after today are people that have been to court. They've been told what they need to take care of it and they still haven't done that."

Non-payment hurts business such Merit foods. A family own business since 1960. The wholesale food distributor is receiving between $75,000 and $100,000 a year in bad checks. Mike Sadowsky says, "We work on very small margins and it could be the difference between making money and not making money, and growing our business as well."

They have 65 employees. They cater to small family businesses like their own. They first try to work with bad check writers to set up payment plans. When that doesn't work they go to the County Attorney's office. "The bad check program that the county has is fantastic. It's the best tool for getting the money collected."

Sadowski says the County Attorney's office collects 80 percent of the accounts merit foods turns over to them. "It may be one month or it maybe five years." Keith St. John adds, "Basically what it is, is to hold people accountable."

If people don't pay up they could face up to a $25,000 fine or up to six months in jail.

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