Economic Crimes Unit
Over $6,945,000 in restitution has been returned to area merchants since 2002!
Everyone knows that bad checks are bad news to merchants and honest customers alike. Merchants lose thousands of dollars a year, and customers pay higher prices passed on by merchants to offset their losses. In the past, merchants trying to get their money back from these criminals had two choices: try to sue, which was cumbersome and expensive; or report it to the police, which could take months and often resulted in little, if any, justice.
Bad Check Services
The Economic Crimes Unit (ECU), which began in October 2002, gives merchants a third choice. Merchants refer bad check cases to the ECU, which reviews the facts and decides if the bad check writer qualifies for a diversion program. Those who qualify must repay the merchant the amount of the bad check and bank fees, plus pay the Unit a separate diversion-programming fee.
Some participants will be required to attend an economics crime course. Those who comply will not be formally charged for writing the bad check. It's a win-win situation: merchants get their money back and the bad check writers pay for their own investigation and prosecution.
Formal Criminal Prosecution
Formal criminal prosecution will remain an option for the ECU. However, it is reserved for repeat offenders, bad check writers with extensive criminal histories, or those bad check writers who fail to comply with the diversion program.
Since 2002, the ECU's diversion program has expanded beyond Eaton County bounced check cases to now include:
- Many of the Michigan Secretary of State's and the Ingham County Prosecutor's bad check cases
- Retail fraud (shoplifting)
- Failure to return rental property (e.g., rental cars; rent-to-own commercial contracts; library books)
- Social security fraud
- Electronic fund transfer cases
The ECU is a business approach to business crimes. Participation in the Economic Crimes Unit will benefit all law-abiding citizens as well as help businesses improve their bottom line.