Fraudulent electronic funds transfers (EFTs) will now be treated the same as bad checks

Date: November 13, 2014

Bipartisan
legislation
 that
includes electronic funds transfers (EFTs) within the criminal and civil
statutes for the issuance of bad checks was signed into law by Governor
Christie.   This measure, supported by NFIB/NJ,  clarifies that
electronic funds transfers are to be treated the same as a check, draft, or
order under the provisions of the statute, and includes appropriate references
to electronic funds transfers throughout the demand for payment
form.   Despite the fact that EFTs, which are also legally binding financial
arrangements, have become a more and more common method of payment between
parties, there is was no specific law with respect to authorizing a transfer
that cannot be honored

Under
criminal law, a person who makes a fraudulent EFT for checks or money orders
would be subject to the following penalties:

     (1) a second degree crime if the amount is
$75,000 or more;

     (2) a third degree crime if the amount is
$1,000.00 or more but less than $75,000;

     (3) a crime of the fourth degree if the amount is
$200.00 or more but less than $1,000;

     (4) a disorderly persons offense if the amount of
the check is less than $200.

     Under civil law, if payment is not made, the
maker or payor is subject to certain monetary damages, whereby the recipient or
payee can enforce the payment to be made in a civil action. For a person who
passes a bad check, the payee on the check or order may recover the amount
owed, attorney’s fees, court costs, and damages in an amount equal to $100 or
triple the amount of the check or order. Damages recovered may not exceed by
more than $500 the amount of the check or order.

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