Pasadena, MD asked in Business Law for Maryland

Q: A check written out to my business from another business is stolen from mail and cashed, who’s responsible for paying me

Maryland. Subcontracted for a job, the contractor mailed a check as payment payment was stolen from the mail, I never received it someone signed and cashed it

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Assuming what you are being told (by whom?) is true, the bank that paid the check is legally liable to the person or company to whom the check was made payable. The bank that paid the check accepted a forged signature without checking or confirming the identity of the person cashing/depositing it. A check made out to a company name generally cannot be cashed except at the bank where the company maintains its bank account, and usually that bank knows its customers. Something sounds fishy about your facts. How do you know a check that never reached you was solen by someone else and cashed? How do you know where and when it was stolen? The contractor told you this? You remain unpaid, so demand payment from the contractor, as well as demand proof of the forged and cashed/deposited check. With a copy of that check, you might make a claim against the bank. The Commercial Code has a very short (30-60 day, I believe) time deadline to make a written claim against the bank, which runs from the earlier of the date you learn of the bank error or the date the bank sends the account holder the monthly statement covering the transaction in question. Because the account the check was drawn from is not your bank, you likely will get little cooperation from that bank, but if the check was cashed at your bank, then you have direct recourse.

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