Larceny by Check

The crime of larceny by check is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 37. In order for someone to be convicted of larceny by check, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The individual wrote, cashed, passed or delivered a check drawn upon an account at a bank;
  • The individual obtained money, property, or services as a result of the use of the check;
  • The individual knew at the time that he or she wrote, cashed, passed or delivered the check that there was not sufficient funds or credit at the bank on which the check was drawn to cover the check;
  • The individual intended to defraud the bank or the person who received the check.

In short, larceny by check occurs when someone obtains goods or services by writing a check with knowledge at the time that there are insufficient funds to cover the check with the intent to defraud. It is prima facie evidence that the individual had the intent to defraud if the individual failed to make good on the check within 2 days after being notified that the bank refused payment because of insufficient funds

If no money, property or services are obtained, the individual will be convicted of attempted larceny. If money, property, or services are obtained, the individual will be convicted of larceny.

If the value of the stolen property is greater than $250.00, or if the property is a firearm, the individual can be punished by being sentenced to up to 5 years in the state prison or by up to 2 years in jail combined with a fine of up to $25,000.00. Larceny by stealing property worth more than $250.00 or a firearm is a felony.

If the value of the stolen property is $250.00 or less, the individual can be punished by being sentenced to up to 1 year in jail or by a fine of up to $300.00. Larceny by stealing property worth $250.00 or less is a misdemeanor.

The punishment is also increased if the individual is charged with larceny by stealing property from someone who is 60 years of age or older, or is disabled. In this instance, if the value of the stolen property is more than $250.00, the individual's sentence can be increased to up to 10 years in the state prison or up to 2.5 years in the house of correction and/or by a fine of up to $50,000.00. If the value of the stolen property is $250.00 or less, the individual's punishment can increase to up to 2.5 years in the house of correction and/or by a fine of up to $1,000.00.

In addition to any criminal penalties, a civil suit may be brought to recover the face amount of a bounced check and for additional damage.


Larceny Lawyers at the Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP

At Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand the stress and concerns that individuals have when they are facing charges of Larceny by Check in Massachusetts.  Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys will zealously advocate on your behalf during all stages of the criminal process.  In addition to fully explaining your legal rights to you, our criminal defense lawyers will outline and explore every legal avenue available in your particular case.  


Please Contact Altman & Altman, LLP to speak with an experienced MA criminal defense lawyer about your legal concerns.  We are available to speak with you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  In addition, all initial consultations are free of charge.


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