If you don't pay the fine, you will do the time, behind bars that is. That's the word from the district attorney's office to ALL residents who are guilty of writing bad checks. Drawer after drawer file cabinets outside the office's bad check unit are filled with names of people who are guilty of writing bad checks over the last 15 years in Lauderdale, Kemper and Clarke counties.
"And what has happened is that the merchants have given them opportunity to come in and make the checks good. We have given them an opportunity and all of our efforts have basically been done in vain," says assistant district attorney Veldore Young.
Here's how big the problem is. These 40 file cabinets are all filled with names of people found guilty of writing bad checks. Ranging from $3 to $14,000, law enforcement officials say all have been given ample amount of time to repay the money but have not and now warrants have been issued for ALL of their arrests!
"Warrants have been issued on NCIC," says assistant district attorney Andy Davis. "So, if you're traveling in Arkansas and get pulled over for speeding and they show a warrant for bad checks in Lauderdale County, they're going to take you into custody there and you will remain there until you're extradited back to Mississippi for that potentially $15 check."
In all, almost 3,000 warrants, if not more, have been issued. Already officials say a number of arrests have been made, including some out of state.
"If you even think you have a bad check call us and find out. We want to help those people who want to help themselves," says assistant district attorney Lisa Howell.
The number to call is (601) 484-3990.