Have past-due fines, bad checks? The DA’s coming for you

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 31, 2017

Owe restitution or for worthless checks? The District Attorney’s Office is coming for you.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said in a Thursday afternoon press release that his office is prepping for its next roundup in the coming weeks.

Merrell said that the number of warrants issued for worthless checks and failure to pay court-ordered restitution has increased since the beginning of the year.

“One of the duties of my office is to collect payment for bad checks and restitution in both misdemeanor and felony cases,” Merrell said. “My staff and I take that responsibility very seriously. In our eyes, justice does not end until our victims are repaid for their losses and made whole again.”

Merrell said in the past the roundups have been successful, lasting days and weeks with the help of local law enforcement officers.

“The results have always increased the payment of monies owed by defendants,” he said.

Merrell said his staff works hard to give defendants every opportunity to pay the money they owe.

“The issuance of an arrest warrant is a last resort, after all other efforts to collect the money have been exhausted,” he said. “The office’s restitution recovery and worthless check unit is led by Jeremie Shaffer, and she is assisted by Investigators Shawn Bentley and David Brownlee Jeremie has the ability to help get most defendants on track with their payments and keep those who are trying to do the right thing in line. However, some people just refuse to pay and that is when we issue warrants and send our investigators, and other local law enforcement, to find them.”

Shaffer said she would rather work with someone who owes money than have the person arrested.

“Every day, I work with people who are struggling financially, and I try to find ways to help them make their payments – although my first obligation is to see the victims’ money returned,” she said. “I encourage anyone who owes money, whether from worthless checks or restitution ordered by the judge to contact me about paying that money. I will work with you, as much as I can, but ignoring the money owed will end up resulting in an arrest.”

Those who need to clear up money owed, may reach Shaffer at 334-222-2513.