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Virgin Islands National Guard Explains What Soldiers Should Do With Bounced Government Checks

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CHRISTIANSTED — The Virgin Islands National Guard (VING) issued instructions today on what soldiers should do if they received checks from the government that bounced, the V.I. Free Press has learned.

Under the first heading on the February 12 memo titled “Information Regarding Returned Checks” the VING wrote:

“Apologies for any inconveniences caused,” VING said.

VING suggested that anyone who got a Not Sufficient Funds (NSF) for their Temporary Active Duty (TAD) during disaster recovery operations should do the following:

1. Return the check to their unit with documentation from the financial institution stating the check did not clear, documentation showing any assessed fees, and the financial institution’s contact information.
2. The VING unit will return the check and all supporting documentation to the VING G8.
3. The VING G8 will return the check with all supporting documentation to the V.I.
Department of Finance.
4. V.I. Department of Finance will coordinate with the financial institution in an effort to waive any return check fees. If unsuccessful, the fee will be applied to a re-issued check.

Under the second heading on the interoffice memo called “Information Regarding Opened Checks” the VING said: “A copy of the pay check and pay statement are required in order to validate (a) the check amount is correct and (b) reconcile pay information for Federal reimbursement.”

Meanwhile, former V.I. Attorney General Soraya Diase Coffelt, a candidate for governor, weighed in on the issue.

“I’m receiving reports from V.I. National Guard service members that some of them have finally received checks from the V.I. government for payment for their services [on] Temporary Active Duty,” Diase Coffelt said. “BUT, many of these checks have bounced, adding insult to injury! Title 14 of the VI Code, section 835(a) provides that it is a felony to have a check for over $100 issued knowing that there are insufficient funds to pay it. The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years. We need to know who is responsible for this fiasco!”

According to the Virgin Islands Code, the person who signed the NSF checks is personally responsible. In this case, that would be Finance Commissioner Valdamier Collens.

Soldiers who still have questions should Master Sergeant Karen Williams at (340) 712-7750 or

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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