New Bill Criminalizes Failure to Return Zelle Payments Sent in Error

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator John McKeon that would protect users of person-to-person electronic payment systems by criminalizing the failure to return payments sent in error after proper notification.


“As personal payment applications like Venmo or Cashapp have become popular, many users have accidentally sent a payment to the wrong individual,” said Senator John McKeon (D-Essex/Passaic). “Despite its commonality, recovering mistaken electronic transaction funds proves difficult for users and law enforcement. By criminalizing the failure to return money sent in error after notification we can better protect users of these applications from theft.”


The bill, S-1125, provides that the failure to return erroneous electronic payment between individuals to the sender would be theft if the receiver fails to return the payment after proper notification.


An individual would have 30 days to return a payment after notification.


The committee approved the legislation in a 5-0 vote.

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