Washington, DC asked in Criminal Law, Banking, Civil Litigation and Small Claims for Maryland

Q: I deposited a check in my account for my friend and gave them the money it was fake can I sue them?

It’s been five years since this happened and they almost always promised to start paying me back and never did and we are no longer friends and I’m left with this debt. It’s $3283.

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

A: The statute of limitations for commencing a civil suit is 3 years, so that has expired. You can file the lawsuit, but if the defendant raises the statute of limitations as a defense, you lose. It is an affirmative defense, so the defendant has to raise it or he waives it. Your facts also support criminal charges of felony theft, plus possibly other crimes (uttering, which is passing a bad check; counterfeiting, which includes creating a false check), and there is no statute of limitations preventing the State from commencing a criminal prosecution against the defendant. You would have to convince the State's Attorney to pursue the case, however, since it is so old. Questions will arise as to why you waited so long, and the availablity of evidence, and your motivations for pursuing charges at this time as opposed to back when the crime was committed. The defendant may raise speedy trial defenses based on stale evidence and evidence no longer available to defend the case. You will need your bank records, the cancelled/returned check, proof of payment of the funds, etc. If the prosecutor's office pursues the case, and is successful, the defendant can be ordered to pay you restitution by the judge as part of the sentence.

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