It is considered a criminal offense in Oklahoma to write a check on a non-existent account or an account that you know does not have the funds available to cover the amount. This is commonly referred to as writing or passing a “hot” or “bogus” check—although the law calls it check fraud.
It is also unlawful to “float” a check, which means writing a check in anticipation of having the funds available.
It’s also important to understand that even if you legitimately did not realize you had insufficient funds available to cover the check, you can be held legally liable. The state of Oklahoma expects you to keep up with your bank account and to only write checks in amounts that you can cover at the time the check is written.
Like other acts of fraud in our state, the potential penalties for check fraud depend on the amount involved. Generally speaking:
- If the amount involved was less than $500, the charge will be a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
- If the amount was between $500 and $1,000, the charge will be a felony, punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and payment of restitution
- If the amount was greater than $1,000, the charge will be a felony punishable by as much as 10 years in prison