Restitution for defunct merchants?
If we collect restitution for defunct merchants in theft by check cases, what should we do with the restitution if we cannot forward to the victim? State crime victims fund? Office use? Thank you in advance.
July 05, 2011, 10:57andersondamisd
You should probably check into sending it to the State Comptroller's Office to hold for the merchant in case they ever make a claim.
July 06, 2011, 11:16Shannon Edmonds
Keeping money like that, or "donating" money that is not yours, can lead to more headaches than it's worth.
If the business was privately owned by an individual or individuals in a partnership (instead of a corporation), you could give it to him/her/them directly; try checking with the Secretary of State's office for an old registered agent who you might be able to track down.
If it was a publicly-held franchise of a store that pulled up stakes and left town, you could contact the loss prevention people at the corporation's headquarters.
If you can't find anyone who could have more claim to the money than the defendant, then the Comptroller might take it to add to the unclaimed property system, or it might not. If not, do NOT convert it to office use and do NOT "donate" it, because it is not your money to use or donate. Better to return it to the defendant than do either of those.
Trust me on this--nothing gets public officials in more trouble than misuse/misappropriation of property.
July 07, 2011, 15:05andersondamisd
What are some reasons why the comptroller might not take the $$? I ask because my Hot Check Manager just told me that our Auditor is telling us to go ahead and get this stuff to the Comptroller soon. Any problems I should anticipate?
July 08, 2011, 15:12Shannon Edmonds
I have no information either way, I just wouldn't assume the comptroller's office will take it without checking with them first.