Recently, a woman in the Santa Clarita Valley checked her bank account statement and noticed a check had cleared that she did not write. After searching her checkbook, she discovered that the check that was allegedly written by her had been stolen from the book and used to pay for services from a Valencia company.
Stealing a check from someone and using it to pay for goods or services is covered under California Penal Code 476 PC, California’s “check fraud” law. “Check fraud” can be described as anyone who makes, writes, passes, possesses or attempts to do any of the previous a fake, altered or forged check in order to obtain goods or services. “Check fraud” is a type of forgery, and so it’s included under the broader umbrella of California’s forgery laws; making it a “wobbler” in terms of the severity of the offense.
Traditionally, “wobbler” offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s past criminal history. However, Proposition 47 now makes “check fraud” only chargeable as a misdemeanor if: the value of the check is less than $950 and the defendant is not also charged with PC 530.5 – identity theft.
It’s currently unknown if the suspect will be charged with identity theft or not, as she is currently still at large. Anyone with information on the case is advised to call Detective Wheatcroft at the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station at 661-255-1121 ext. 5156