Crackdown on Hot Check Writers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/3/03

Crackdown on Hot Check Writers

The loud knocking on the door went unanswered, but the banging continued anyway.

After repeated phone calls and numerous letters, authorities Monday evening took the final step in the collection process for bad checks.

"Oh! It's the hot check man! Oh man!," screamed a woman in red slippers and sweats.

Dozens of people were arrested across Lubbock. For most, it was a moment of embarrassment and shame, but others sought levity in a time of trouble.

"Hi, I'm Betty Miller. I wrote a hot check. I hope to get out real soon, but if not could ya'll please put my bond up channel 11," laughed Ms. Miller. She was arrested for a delinquent check of $66 dollars, a manageable sum, but for the mountain of debt that's followed her for over a decade.

"So, it's really about some checks from 1988, 16 years old," she said.

The county sponsored a special night court session to process those caught in the hot check dragnet. Proceedings were expected to go until midnight. Thirty law enforcement officers fanned out across the city, searching for 140 offenders. Collectively, they've written approximately $120,000 in bad checks.

Hot check investigator Randy Nelson says arrest warrants fly out of his office at the rate of 300 per month. The mix of offenders are split between genuine hard luck cases and scam artists. "Most of them just trying to get by. You also have the professional check writers. They're out there trying to con people out if it," he said.

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