I worked for a particular start up sometime ago, but got a bad check in the mail after the work. Since it was a start-up, I decided to give some time before I demand my money. Problem is the company does not have a valid address and my lawyer says that is needed if he is to deliver the papers.

I know this company is still in business as the website is still up. How do I go about getting my money? Also, what rights do I have as an ex-employer to wages unpaid, in general?

  • 1
    Did they sign any sort of contract or documentation, or did they just tell you face to face that they would pay you?
    – Philip
    May 11, 2012 at 18:38
  • 13
    It is a crime to pass a bad check. Consider contacting your state attorney general's office. May 11, 2012 at 18:39
  • 2
    I signed contracts in both cases. I am wondering if I can just walk into the local police station for the one.
    – Rac Main
    May 11, 2012 at 18:50
  • 4
    Problem is the company does not have a valid address -- Good luck getting paid then. They're probably defunct. If the amount is small enough, you can try suing them in small claims court; you need a judgement before law enforcement can act, and they can't act without a valid address or person to go after. I agree with Kevin: contact your AG. May 11, 2012 at 18:55
  • 4
    Maybe you can find their address by doing a whois on their domain name? May 11, 2012 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


Since they still have a website up, you can try to lookup an address for them through their domain registry. For example, this whois query gives contact info, including street addresses for stackexchange. (Note, that query is through their registrar, which I found through a less informative query.)

Also, you might try tracking down addresses of individual people associated with the company.

Talk to your lawyer and see what he can use.


In Illinois, the "official" way to find the "official" address of a business appears to depend how the business was organized. That is, the business could just be someone operating under an assumed name, or it could be a corporation, or it could be a limited liability company, etc.

For an assumed name, the name and address must be registered with the county. See (805 ILCS 405/) Assumed Business Name Act.

A corporation must have a registered office in the state. See (805 ILCS 5/) Business Corporation Act of 1983.

The laws pertaining to other business organizations appear similar, and it looks like you can find a whole list of them in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. The link lists the laws pertaining to the various business organizations in about as clean a format as I have seen.

Now, it appears that the Illinois Secretary of State has a page allowing you to search for information about a corporation or LLC. However, since assumed names are just registered with the county in Illinois, you would have to find the county administration offices to get that information.

Finally, if the business is in violation of the registered address laws, you may have to discuss with a (perhaps different) lawyer how to serve them. In Minnesota, it is permissible to serve process on the Secretary of State for certain similar circumstances, but I do not know whether such a mechanism exists in Illinois.

  • Thanks. That website definitely gave me some assurance that my cause is not lost. I was thinking for a minute there that the story of the company being a registered corporation may have been made up.
    – Rac Main
    May 11, 2012 at 22:22

If you still have the cheque, go in to the cheque-issuing bank (particularly when you'd expect them to have money in their account) and ask the teller to see if the cheque can be cashed. They will tell you. Once it can, cash it and you're paid. Uncommonly known fact.

  • I only have a copy of the check.
    – Rac Main
    May 11, 2012 at 19:27
  • @RacMain what happened to the original check?
    – Rarity
    May 12, 2012 at 0:31
  • Well, I deposited it, and was never able to get it back even though it bounced. Am I supposed to be able to get it back or something? I have a copy of the check though.
    – Rac Main
    May 12, 2012 at 4:00
  • 2
    If the check bounced, it should have been returned to you, stamped "INSUFFICIENT FUNDS". When it bounced, it became physical evidence of a crime. Talk to your bank. May 14, 2012 at 8:53

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