It used to be that retailers and district attorneys’ offices faced the same problem, but from different angles. People write an awful lot of bad checks. They might be trying to commit fraud, or they might have just forgotten to carry the one the last time they balanced their checkbook. Stores send the bad checks on to district attorneys’ offices if they think there might be fraud, and the DAs can end up overwhelmed with bad-check cases. They also hire collection agencies to recoup the money owed from their customers, but the rate of return on that isn’t so great. The not-so-obvious solution, which 300 district attorneys take part in: lend their names and letterhead to collection agencies, who in turn threaten check-bouncers with prosecution and prison.