Checkmate in Sacramento

Don’t bounce a check at ’The Galleria’—lest ye face the wrath of CorrectiveSolutions

If you’re going to write a bad check, don’t do it in Roseville.

Placer County is the only local government to partner with CorrectiveSolutions, the private company featured in this week’s cover story, “Checkmate!” by Denise Grollmus. CorrectiveSolutions is notorious for threatening jail time and fines against individuals who most of the time accidentally ink bad checks. In many cases, these check writers have already paid off the bounced check and associated fees—yet still find themselves hassled by CorrectiveSolutions.

The Placer County District Attorney’s Office told SN&R this past week that it has referred all check-restitution cases to CorrectiveSolutions for “more than two years,” according to a spokeswoman.

CorrectiveSolutions is known for using district-attorney letterhead to contact bounced-check writers. These letters keep arriving in the mail, stating that the individual will face jail time and hefty fines, unless they pay up.

The company rakes in millions off its partnerships with more than 140 district attorneys in the United States. And local governments such as Placer County even bring in a tidy profit off CorrectiveSolutions work, too.

Sacramento County does not partner with private check-restitution companies like CorrectiveSolutions. That’s encouraging—but it isn’t necessarily a good thing, either: Nobody in the county assists check-fraud victims with revenue recovery.

In 2009, the Sacramento district attorney’s office said it could no longer help out with bad checks due to budget constraints. The DA kicked the responsibility to the sheriff’s department, which picked up the slack “for a couple months,” according to Sgt. Jason Ramos.

But, since October 2011, the sheriff’s department hasn’t been able to help out, and the county has, essentially, disbanded its check-diversion program.

“So, by and large as a general practice, we have nobody doing them,” Ramos told SN&R.

Meanwhile, Yolo County still helps merchants collect on bad checks the old-fashioned way: in house.