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      Cameron County cracking down on 'hot' check writers

      An ultimatum in Cameron County for people writing bad checks-pay up or face arrest.

      The District Attorney's Office is cracking down on those who've written "hot" checks over the last year and half.

      The District Attorney Office in Cameron County receives about 60 hot checks a week.

      Luis Saenz said for those who haven TMt paid their outstanding debts, they can expect the county to come knocking on their door.

      Hot check writers is an issue that just won TMt go away, but now District Attorney Luis Saenz is cracking down in order to help those directly affected.

      "The big portion of them are small businesses, mom and pop stores, that need our help and that's all we TMre trying to do. Just give them a helping hand by collecting these funds for them," said Saenz.

      Those most affected are family run businesses.

      "They just trust them [customers] and for the most part, they're good checks, but every now and then you'll get a bad check and that TMs the one we're addressing," said Saenz.

      David De Leon of Garza's Tortilla Factory in Harlingen said unfortunately his business is all too familiar with hot check writers.

      "Every week we'd have at least a check or two come in and we couldn TMt locate the people and it TMs just hard to get your money like that," said De Leon.

      "These are small businesses that if they take a $200 check and it turns out to be insufficient that could make or break them for that week," said Saenz.

      Especially when every penny counts.

      That's why De Leon said they decided to stop accepting checks.

      "You know the bills keep coming and we have to pay our employees between payroll and utilities -- we need everything we put into it back," said De Leon.

      It TMs why De Leon feels this new approach by the DA is not only needed, but he views it as proactive.

      The average check written is between $150 to $200.

      Since Monday, the DA TMs office has collected about $10,000 from the hot check roundup.

      The DA says people have till Nov. 2nd to pay back their debt.

      If not, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

      There are red flags to watch out for are:-Missing check number-Customer and bank fonts look different-Missing addresses-Doesn't have a signature.

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