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Prosecuting Attorney opens second office

FARMINGTON — The St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has opened a second office in the county courthouse.

An extension of the prosecuting attorney’s office, the bad check collection unit, opened Friday. Individuals paying on bad checks and merchants who are reporting bad checks will be directed to this office, located in Room 103B on the bottom floor of the courthouse. However, individuals on probation for bad checks still will be directed to the main office on the top floor of the courthouse.

The office hours for the new office are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office can be reached by calling 756-1631 or 756-1657.

The prosecuting attorney’s office hired a second clerk to handle bad checks.

Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn said adding another person will make things more efficient. Horn said caseload was becoming too much for one person to handle.

More than 8,000 bad check charges have been filed this year.

Since July of 2001, the office has collected more than $500,000 in restitution for area merchants. The amount doe not include the restitution collected by municipalities like Bonne Terre — that handle bad check charges at the local level.

When the old law library space became available in the basement last year, Horn approached the county commissioner about using the space for a bad check collection office. The space has been rewired, remodeled and equipped with new computers, fax machines and furniture.

Funds for the new office came from fees the office is allowed to collect on bad checks for the betterment of the prosecutor’s office. These fees will also fund the new clerk’s salary.

Moving the bad check files downstairs has freed up space and the time that other employees had spent answering questions about bad checks.

Horn said the new office will allow them to provide better service to everyone.

A sign posted on the prosecutor’s office door directs individuals to the office downstairs. Horn said the clerks helped several people on Friday.

“It’s been busy but there haven’t been any problems,” she said.

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