Can I get in trouble for unknowingly cashing a fraudulent check that I received in the mail for a job?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can I get in trouble for unknowingly cashing a fraudulent check that I received in the mail for a job?

I was sent a link and I responded to it and was offered an advertising job. They sent me a $3600 check for work I would be doing in the future months. I cashed said check and 2 days later the places I cashed it at said it was a

fraudulent check. So can I go to jail for this or is it my responsibility to pay it back?

Asked on September 30, 2019 under Business Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) It's not a criminal act, because you did not have a criminal "mens rea" or intent: that is, you did not intend to commit a crime.
2) However, you do have to repay the money. That is because anyone, regardless of their intent, who received money to which they are not entitled must repay it. In this case, you received $3,600 when you cashed the check, but are not entitled to it, because the check was not valid; therefore, you must repay.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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