What can I do to collect on a bum check?

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Question:

I have a $2,000 check written by a friend that won't clear the bank. What are my legal rights?

Answer:

Friends and money are often uneasy bedfellows. In your situation, you are likely to end up with either your money or your friend, but not both.

From a legal standpoint, you have the right to sue and obtain a judgment and force collections -- attaching your friend's wages, seizing his or her bank accounts, or putting a lien on his or her house. To learn about bringing a lawsuit in small claims court, see Nolo's Small Claims Court area.

Also, in some states, a judge could award you up to three times the amount of the check to punish your friend for writing a bad check. Check your state laws. (For information on researching state law, see Nolo's Legal Research area.

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