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City Departments Doing Little About Bad Checks Written To Philadelphia

Inspector General Amy Kurland (Credit: Mike Dunn)

Inspector General Amy Kurland (Credit: Mike Dunn)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s Inspector General has issued a report on what’s thought to be a growing problem related to tax deadbeats: people who do pay their taxes, but the checks bounce.

More than half-a-million dollars in bad checks, payments for taxes or fees, were written to the City of Philadelphia in the span of just one year, from June 2011 through June 2012, according to Inspector General Amy Kurland.

She says various city departments which received the bad checks — notably L&I — would often do nothing:

“Many of the departments took absolutely no action at all. The bounced would be returned to them, and they would just basically do nothing.”

And those departments that did something often did an equally poor job keeping track of how the issues were resolved.

The IG’s report has several recommendations, including more consistent procedures for dealing with bad checks, and for prosecution of the worst offenders.

In fact, Kurland said the case of the single worst bad check writer has been forwarded to the District Attorney. She says the city needs to change the mindset that bounced check can be written impunity:

“People need to be aware that they can’t keep writing bad checks. If somebody writes a bad check, and nothing happens to them, they’re going to continue to do the same thing over and over.”

Improving the handling of bounced checks is one of the tasks of the mayor’s just-hired Chief Revenue Collection Officer, Tom Knudsen.

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