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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 17: Deceptive Practice Crimes in Illinois

From a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat to a business executive making fraudulent investments, deception can take many forms. This section of Illinois law lists the situations in which a person committing a deceptive act can face criminal prosecution. If a person makes a false statement to promote the sale of property or services, pays for something with a check that the purchaser knows will not go through, makes a false statement to obtain a bank account, or possesses stolen checks, among many others infractions, that person may find himself facing charges of deceptive practices. The sentences for these crimes vary as much as the crimes themselves, but a violation can carry up to a Class 4 felony status, at most.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been arrested for the crime of deceptive practices in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 17 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 17

Sec. 17-1. Deceptive practices.
    (720 ILCS 5/17-1)

(A) Definitions.

As used in this Section:

(i) "Financial institution" means any bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or other depository of money, or medium of savings and collective investment.

(ii) An "account holder" is any person having a checking account or savings account in a financial institution.

(iii) To act with the "intent to defraud" means to act wilfully, and with the specific intent to deceive or cheat, for the purpose of causing financial loss to another, or to bring some financial gain to oneself. It is not necessary to establish that any person was actually defrauded or deceived.

(B) General Deception.

A person commits a deceptive practice when, with intent to defraud, the person does any of the following:

(a) He or she causes another, by deception or threat, to execute a document disposing of property or a document by which a pecuniary obligation is incurred.

(b) Being an officer, manager or other person participating in the direction of a financial institution, he or she knowingly receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent.

(c) He or she knowingly makes or directs another to make a false or deceptive statement addressed to the public for the purpose of promoting the sale of property or services.

(d) With intent to obtain control over property or to pay for property, labor or services of another, or in satisfaction of an obligation for payment of tax under the Retailers' Occupation Tax Act or any other tax due to the State of Illinois, he or she issues or delivers a check or other order upon a real or fictitious depository for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be paid by the depository. Failure to have sufficient funds or credit with the depository when the check or other order is issued or delivered, or when such check or other order is presented for payment and dishonored on each of 2 occasions at least 7 days apart, is prima facie evidence that the offender knows that it will not be paid by the depository, and that he or she has the intent to defraud. In this paragraph (d), "property" includes rental property (real or personal).

(e) He or she issues or delivers a check or other order upon a real or fictitious depository in an amount exceeding $150 in payment of an amount owed on any credit transaction for property, labor or services, or in payment of the entire amount owed on any credit transaction for property, labor or services, knowing that it will not be paid by the depository, and thereafter fails to provide funds or credit with the depository in the face amount of the check or order within 7 days of receiving actual notice from the depository or payee of the dishonor of the check or order. Sentence.

A person convicted of a deceptive practice under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) of this subsection (B), except as otherwise provided by this Section, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

A person convicted of a deceptive practice in violation of paragraph (d) a second or subsequent time shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

A person convicted of deceptive practices in violation of paragraph (d), when the value of the property so obtained, in a single transaction, or in separate transactions within a 90 day period, exceeds $150, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. In the case of a prosecution for separate transactions totaling more than $150 within a 90 day period, such separate transactions shall be alleged in a single charge and provided in a single prosecution.

(C) Deception on a Bank or Other Financial Institution.

(1) False Statements.

Any person who, with the intent to defraud, makes or causes to be made any false statement in writing in order to obtain an account with a bank or other financial institution, or to obtain credit from a bank or other financial institution, or to obtain services from a currency exchange, knowing such writing to be false, and with the intent that it be relied upon, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

For purposes of this subsection (C), a false statement shall mean any false statement representing identity, address, or employment, or the identity, address or employment of any person, firm or corporation.

(2) Possession of Stolen or Fraudulently Obtained Checks.

Any person who possesses, with the intent to obtain access to funds of another person held in a real or fictitious deposit account at a financial institution, makes a false statement or a misrepresentation to the financial institution, or possesses, transfers, negotiates, or presents for payment a check, draft, or other item purported to direct the financial institution to withdraw or pay funds out of the account holder's deposit account with knowledge that such possession, transfer, negotiation, or presentment is not authorized by the account holder or the issuing financial institution is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. A person shall be deemed to have been authorized to possess, transfer, negotiate, or present for payment such item if the person was otherwise entitled by law to withdraw or recover funds from the account in question and followed the requisite procedures under the law. In the event that the account holder, upon discovery of the withdrawal or payment, claims that the withdrawal or payment was not authorized, the financial institution may require the account holder to submit an affidavit to that effect on a form satisfactory to the financial institution before the financial institution may be required to credit the account in an amount equal to the amount or amounts that were withdrawn or paid without authorization.

Any person who, within any 12 month period, violates this Section with respect to 3 or more checks or orders for the payment of money at the same time or consecutively, each the property of a different account holder or financial institution, is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(3) Possession of Implements of Check Fraud.

Any person who possesses, with the intent to defraud and without the authority of the account holder or financial institution, any check imprinter, signature imprinter, or "certified" stamp is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

A person who within any 12 month period violates this subsection (C) as to possession of 3 or more such devices at the same time or consecutively, is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

(4) Possession of Identification Card.

Any person who, with the intent to defraud, possesses any check guarantee card or key card or identification card for cash dispensing machines without the authority of the account holder or financial institution is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

A person who, within any 12 month period, violates this Section at the same time or consecutively with respect to 3 or more cards, each the property of different account holders, is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

A person convicted under this Section, when the value of property so obtained, in a single transaction, or in separate transactions within any 90 day period, exceeds $150 shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. (Source: P.A. 94-872, eff. 6-16-06.)

(720 ILCS 5/17-1a) (from Ch. 38, par. 17-1a)

Sec. 17-1a. Civil Liability for Deceptive Practices. A person who issues a check or order to a payee in violation of Section 17-1(B) (d) and who fails to pay the amount of the check or order to the payee within 30 days following either delivery and acceptance by the addressee of a written demand by both certified mail and by first class mail to the person's last know address; or attempted delivery of a written demand sent by both certified mail and by first class mail to the person's last known address and the demand by certified mail is returned to the sender with a notation that delivery was refused or unclaimed, shall be liable to the payee or a person subrogated to the rights of the payee for, in addition to the amount owing upon such check or order, damages of treble the amount so owing, but in no case less than $100 nor more than $1,500, plus attorney fees and court costs.

A cause of action under this Section may be brought in small claims court or in any other appropriate court. As part of the written demand required by this Section, the plaintiff shall provide written notice to the defendant of the fact that prior to the hearing of any action under this Section, the defendant may tender to the plaintiff and the plaintiff shall accept as satisfaction of the claim, an amount of money equal to the sum of the amount of the check and the incurred court costs, and service and attorney fees. (Source: P.A. 89-378, eff. 8-18-95; 90-227, eff. 1-1-98; 90-721, eff. 1-1-99.)

(720 ILCS 5/17-1b)

Sec. 17-1b. State's Attorney's bad check diversion program.

(a) In this Section:

"Offender" means a person charged with, or for whom probable cause exists to charge the person with, deceptive practices.

"Pretrial diversion" means the decision of a prosecutor to refer an offender to a diversion program on condition that the criminal charges against the offender will be dismissed after a specified period of time, or the case will not be charged, if the offender successfully completes the program.

"Restitution" means all amounts payable to a victim of deceptive practices under the bad check diversion program created under this Section, including the amount of the check and any transaction fees payable to a victim as set forth in subsection (g) but does not include amounts recoverable under Section 3-806 of the Uniform Commercial Code and Section 17-1a of this Code.

(b) A State's Attorney may create within his or her office a bad check diversion program for offenders who agree to voluntarily participate in the program instead of undergoing prosecution. The program may be conducted by the State's Attorney or by a private entity under contract with the State's Attorney. If the State's Attorney contracts with a private entity to perform any services in operating the program, the entity shall operate under the supervision, direction, and control of the State's Attorney. Any private entity providing services under this Section is not a "collection agency" as that term is defined under the Collection Agency Act.

(c) If an offender is referred to the State's Attorney, the State's Attorney may determine whether the offender is appropriate for acceptance in the program. The State's Attorney may consider, but shall not be limited to consideration of, the following factors:

(1) the amount of the check that was drawn or passed;

(2) prior referrals of the offender to the program;

(3) whether other charges of deceptive practices are pending against the offender;

(4) the evidence presented to the State's Attorney regarding the facts and circumstances of the incident;

(5) the offender's criminal history; and

(6) the reason the check was dishonored by the financial institution.

(d) The bad check diversion program may require an offender to do one or more of the following:

(i) pay for, at his or her own expense, and successfully complete an educational class held by the State's Attorney or a private entity under contract with the State's Attorney;

(ii) make full restitution for the offense;

(iii) pay a per-check administrative fee as set forth in this Section.

(e) If an offender is diverted to the program, the State's Attorney shall agree in writing not to prosecute the offender upon the offender's successful completion of the program conditions. The State's Attorney's agreement to divert the offender shall specify the offenses that will not be prosecuted by identifying the checks involved in the transactions.

(f) The State's Attorney, or private entity under contract with the State's Attorney, may collect a fee from an offender diverted to the State's Attorney's bad check diversion program. This fee may be deposited in a bank account maintained by the State's Attorney for the purpose of depositing fees and paying the expenses of the program or for use in the enforcement and prosecution of criminal laws. The State's Attorney may require that the fee be paid directly to a private entity that administers the program under a contract with the State's Attorney. The amount of the administrative fees collected by the State's Attorney under the program may not exceed $35 per check. The county board may, however, by ordinance, increase the fees allowed by this Section if the increase is justified by an acceptable cost study showing that the fees allowed by this Section are not sufficient to cover the cost of providing the service.

(g) (1) The private entity shall be required to maintain adequate general liability insurance of $1,000,000 per occurrence as well as adequate coverage for potential loss resulting from employee dishonesty. The State's Attorney may require a surety bond payable to the State's Attorney if in the State's Attorney's opinion it is determined that the private entity is not adequately insured or funded.

(2) (A) Each private entity that has a contract with the State's Attorney to conduct a bad check diversion program shall at all times maintain a separate bank account in which all moneys received from the offenders participating in the program shall be deposited, referred to as a "Trust Account", except that negotiable instruments received may be forwarded directly to a victim of the deceptive practice committed by the offender if that procedure is provided for by a writing executed by the victim. Moneys received shall be so deposited within 5 business days after posting to the private entity's books of account. There shall be sufficient funds in the trust account at all times to pay the victims the amount due them.

(B) The trust account shall be established in a bank, savings and loan association, or other recognized depository which is federally or State insured or otherwise secured as defined by rule. If the account is interest bearing, the private entity shall pay to the victim interest earned on funds on deposit after the 60th day.

(C) Each private entity shall keep on file the name of the bank, savings and loan association, or other recognized depository in which each trust account is maintained, the name of each trust account, and the names of the persons authorized to withdraw funds from each account. The private entity, within 30 days of the time of a change of depository or person authorized to make withdrawal, shall update its files to reflect that change. An examination and audit of a private entity's trust accounts may be made by the State's Attorney as the State's Attorney deems appropriate. A trust account financial report shall be submitted annually on forms acceptable to the State's Attorney.

(3) The State's Attorney may cancel a contract entered into with a private entity under this Section for any one or any combination of the following causes:

(A) Conviction of the private entity or the principals of the private entity of any crime under the laws of any U.S. jurisdiction which is a felony, a misdemeanor an essential element of which is dishonesty, or of any crime which directly relates to the practice of the profession.

(B) A determination that the private entity has engaged in conduct prohibited in item (4).

(4) The State's Attorney may determine whether the private entity has engaged in the following prohibited conduct:

(A) Using or threatening to use force or violence to cause physical harm to an offender, his or her family, or his or her property.

(B) Threatening the seizure, attachment, or sale of an offender's property where such action can only be taken pursuant to court order without disclosing that prior court proceedings are required.

(C) Disclosing or threatening to disclose information adversely affecting an offender's reputation for creditworthiness with knowledge the information is false.

(D) Initiating or threatening to initiate communication with an offender's employer unless there has been a default of the payment of the obligation for at least 30 days and at least 5 days prior written notice, to the last known address of the offender, of the intention to communicate with the employer has been given to the employee, except as expressly permitted by law or court order.

(E) Communicating with the offender or any member of the offender's family at such a time of day or night and with such frequency as to constitute harassment of the offender or any member of the offender's family. For purposes of this clause (E) the following conduct shall constitute harassment:

(i) Communicating with the offender or any member of his or her family at any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the offender. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a private entity shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 o'clock a.m. and before 9 o'clock p.m. local time at the offender's residence.

(ii) The threat of publication or publication of a list of offenders who allegedly refuse to pay restitution, except by the State's Attorney.

(iii) The threat of advertisement or advertisement for sale of any restitution to coerce payment of the restitution.

(iv) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

(v) Using profane, obscene or abusive language in communicating with an offender, his or her family, or others.

(vi) Disclosing or threatening to disclose information relating to a offender's case to any other person except the victim and appropriate law enforcement personnel.

(vii) Disclosing or threatening to disclose information concerning the alleged criminal act which the private entity knows to be reasonably disputed by the offender without disclosing the fact that the offender disputes the accusation.

(viii) Engaging in any conduct which the

State's Attorney finds was intended to cause and did cause mental or physical illness to the offender or his or her family.

(ix) Attempting or threatening to enforce a right or remedy with knowledge or reason to know that the right or remedy does not exist.

(x) Except as authorized by the State's

Attorney, using any form of communication which simulates legal or judicial process or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued or approved by a governmental agency or official or by an attorney at law when it is not.

(xi) Using any badge, uniform, or other indicia of any governmental agency or official, except as authorized by law or by the State's Attorney.

(xii) Except as authorized by the State's

Attorney, conducting business under any name or in any manner which suggests or implies that the private entity is bonded if such private entity is or is a branch of or is affiliated with any governmental agency or court if such private entity is not.

(xiii) Misrepresenting the amount of the restitution alleged to be owed.

(xiv) Except as authorized by the State's

Attorney, representing that an existing restitution amount may be increased by the addition of attorney's fees, investigation fees, or any other fees or charges when those fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing restitution.

(xv) Except as authorized by the State's

Attorney, representing that the private entity is an attorney at law or an agent for an attorney if the entity is not.

(xvi) Collecting or attempting to collect any interest or other charge or fee in excess of the actual restitution or claim unless the interest or other charge or fee is expressly authorized by the State's Attorney, who shall determine what constitutes a reasonable collection fee.

(xvii) Communicating or threatening to communicate with an offender when the private entity is informed in writing by an attorney that the attorney represents the offender concerning the claim, unless authorized by the attorney. If the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time, the private entity may communicate with the offender. The private entity may communicate with the offender when the attorney gives his consent.

(xviii) Engaging in dishonorable, unethical, or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public.

(5) The State's Attorney shall audit the accounts of the bad check diversion program after notice in writing to the private entity.

(6) Any information obtained by a private entity that has a contract with the State's Attorney to conduct a bad check diversion program is confidential information between the State's Attorney and the private entity and may not be sold or used for any other purpose but may be shared with other authorized law enforcement agencies as determined by the State's Attorney.

(h) The State's Attorney, or private entity under contract with the State's Attorney, shall recover, in addition to the face amount of the dishonored check or draft, a transaction fee to defray the costs and expenses incurred by a victim who received a dishonored check that was made or delivered by the offender. The face amount of the dishonored check or draft and the transaction fee shall be paid by the State's Attorney or private entity under contract with the State's Attorney to the victim as restitution for the offense. The amount of the transaction fee must not exceed: $25 if the face amount of the check or draft does not exceed $100; $30 if the face amount of the check or draft is greater than $100 but does not exceed $250; $35 if the face amount of the check or draft is greater than $250 but does not exceed $500; $40 if the face amount of the check or draft is greater than $500 but does not exceed $1,000; and $50 if the face amount of the check or draft is greater than $1,000.

(i) The offender, if aggrieved by an action of the private entity contracted to operate a bad check diversion program, may submit a grievance to the State's Attorney who may then resolve the grievance. The private entity must give notice to the offender that the grievance procedure is available. The grievance procedure shall be established by the State's Attorney. (Source: P.A. 95-41, eff. 1-1-08.)

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