Legal Question in Criminal Law in Ohio

Stop Payment on Check - Criminal Offense?

My husband and I recently walked out on a house closing because we found out our mortgage broker (broker #1) had lied to us about several things.

We found a new broker (#2) who asked if we could get the appraisal transferred to them. We called the appraisal company who informed us that because the broker #1 had ordered it, she "owned" it and would have to give permission to have it transferred. She did not give permission. Previous to all this, we had written a check directly to the appraisal company and gave it to broker #1 to forward because the invoice was in the broker #1's name. When she didn't approve the transfer, we informed both broker #1 and the appraisal company that a stop payment would be placed on the check.

The intent was to make broker #1 responsible for payment since she "owned" it.

The appraisal company is now claiming to press criminal charges against us for writing a fraudulent check.

I have been told that stopping payment on a check can not be a criminal offense, and that if they proceed with this, I may have a civil case against the appraisal company.

What is your opinion?

Asked on 4/08/98, 4:42 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Patrick A. T. West Ohio Ticket Defense Patrick A. T. West, Attorney at Law
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Stopping payment is not a crime

Stopping payment on a check is never a crime.Here, you received no benefit from the pay-ment and the appraisal company refuses togive you anything for your payment; in legalterms, there is a failure of considerationfrom the appraisal company to you and, there-fore, you owe the appraisal company nothing.

Should the appraisal company bring criminalcharges, they should be dismissed in shortorder then, yes, you can sue the appraisalcompany for malicious prosecution.

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Answered on 4/22/98, 12:43 pm


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