22 bad checks equals serious trouble

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 14, 2014

The Covington County District Attorney’s Office is cutting down on residents intentionally writing bad checks, and investigator Lamar Stokes said a recent arrest is proof of how serious the matter can be.

Tuesday, Stokes and a deputy from the Covington Coun-ty Sheriff’s Department arrested 28-year-old Jonathan M. White on 22 counts of negotiating a worthless instrument.

“He had some priors for this,” Stokes said. “He had written that many bad checks between the months of December and January at different places all over Covington County.”

Stokes said anyone writing checks they know to be “bad” should be aware that law enforcement agents will act on information in order to make arrests.

“You know, if someone writes a bad check and that’s all it was, we try to work with people,” Stokes said. “But when you’re out there writing multiple checks and you know they’re bad, we will arrest you.”

In White’s case, Stokes said he was booked into the Covington County Jail on a $66,000 cash bond.

“He has several other checks still out there,” Stokes said. “We put him on a cash bond to make him accountable for these checks, and then he’s going to go court for the others.”

Stokes said a cash bond requires the full amount to be paid, rather than the 10 percent required for other bonds.

Stokes said White was taken into custody during a traffic stop that occurred while law enforcement officers were headed to his home.

“We will come to your home,” he said. “In this case, while we were on the way to make the arrest, we encountered (White) in his car and we initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Co. Rd. 34 and Ala. Hwy. 55.”

Stokes said it is important for all merchants to know they can turn over any bad checks to the DA’s office.

“They have to send a certified letter to the person, and then the person has 10 days to respond,” Stoke said. “If they don’t respond, the merchant can just bring the letter and the check to us.”

Stokes said, in the event that a check is written against a closed or frozen bank account, no letter is necessary and merchants may simply bring the information to the DA’s check unit.

“This is not just for companies,” he said. “Individuals, landlords – just anybody can bring this to us.”

Stokes said anyone currently in possession of a bad check may contact himself or office manager David Floyd for more information.