Charleston County businesses recouped more than half a million dollars through a program to stop losses from bad checks set up a year ago through the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, a feat Solicitor Scarlett Wilson hailed Tuesday as a victory for merchants, law enforcement and offenders.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Wilson said. “It allows business owners to recoup money lost to them through bad checks and it allows bad check writers to make good and not have a criminal record.”

It also reduces the need for warrants, freeing up law enforcement to deal with other crimes.

Wilson said 134 businesses received $505,000 in restitution payments for about 4,000 bad checks, including one supplier who was handed two bad checks for $23,000 apiece from a local restaurant.

Her press conference Tuesday was not only an anniversary event but also was meant to spread the word to the thousands of other businesses in Charleston County who aren’t taking advantage of the program.

“We just have to get more people to use it,” Wilson said. “Writing bad checks is far from a victimless crime. In the current economic climate, businesses can’t afford to write off losses from fraud.”

Under the program, business owners turn in the bad check along with a completed form found on the solicitor’s website,

“It costs nothing but a stamp,” Wilson said.

Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.