2010 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 14 - Offenses Against Property
Part 1 - Theft
39-14-121 - Worthless checks.

39-14-121. Worthless checks.

(a)  A person commits an offense who, with fraudulent intent or knowingly:

     (1)  Issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money for the purpose of paying any fee, fine, tax, license or obligation to any governmental entity or for the purpose of obtaining money, services, labor, credit or any article of value, knowing at the time there are not sufficient funds in or on deposit with the bank or other drawee for the payment in full of the check or order, as well as all other checks or orders outstanding at the time of issuance; or

     (2)  Stops payment on a check or similar sight order for the payment of money for the purpose of paying any fine, fee, tax, license or obligation to any governmental entity or for the purpose of obtaining money, services, labor, credit or any article of value; provided, that the money, credit, goods or services were as represented at the time of the issuance of the check or similar sight order.

     (3)  This subsection (a) shall not apply to a post-dated check or to a check or similar sight order where the payee or holder knows or has good and sufficient reason to believe the drawer did not have sufficient funds on deposit to the drawer's credit with the drawee to ensure payment.

(b)  For purposes of this section, the issuer's or passer's fraudulent intent or knowledge or both of insufficient funds may be inferred if:

     (1)  The person had no account with the bank or other drawee at the time the person issued or passed the check or similar sight order; or

     (2)  On presentation within thirty (30) days after issuing or passing the check or similar sight order, payment was refused by the bank or other drawee for lack of funds, insufficient funds or account closed after issuing or passing the check or order, and the issuer or passer fails to make good within ten (10) days after receiving notice of that refusal.

(c)  For purposes of subdivision (b)(2), notice shall be in writing, and, if the address is known, sent by certified mail with return receipt requested, and addressed to the issuer or passer at the address shown:

     (1)  On the check or similar sight order if given; or

     (2)  If not shown on the check or similar sight order, on the records of the bank or other drawee if available.

(d)  If notice is given in accordance with subsection (c), it may be inferred that the notice was received no later than five (5) days after it was mailed.

(e)  Notice shall not be required:

     (1)  In the event the situs of the drawee is not in Tennessee;

     (2)  If the drawer is not a resident of Tennessee or has left the state at the time the check, draft or order is dishonored; or

     (3)  If the drawer of the check, draft or order did not have an account with the drawee of the check, draft or order at the time the check, draft or order was issued or dishonored.

(f)  The offense of issuing or passing worthless checks is punishable as theft pursuant to § 39-14-105. Value shall be determined by the amount appearing on the face of the check on the date of issue.

(g)  Nothing in this section shall be construed as amending or repealing the Fraud and Economic Crimes Prosecution Act, pursuant to § 40-3-201.

[Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 1; 1990, ch. 1030, § 20; 1992, ch. 962, § 3.]  

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