Unpaid Texas royalties due to stolen check

On April 25th, an operator mailed a royalty check to me that never arrived. I asked them to void it and re-issue around May 14th. However, they took a week to do so and the check was deposited into someone else’s account in the mean time.

I have a secured mailbox so I never received the check at all. Over two months later, I have received no substantive update from the operator or their bank so I emailed them the 30 day notice required by Texas Natural Resources Code 91.404 for unpaid royalties on July 21st.

I’m trying to confirm that they still need to pay me regardless of what happened to the original check and that they would be liable for my attorney’s fees if I hire one. Does anyone have experience with a situation like this?

Thanks in advance.

Chris W.

E-mails & phone calls very seldom work. Send a letter via certified mail, return receipt. That will/should do the trick.

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This has happened to us. You need to send a certified letter to the operator notifying them of the theft and request the scan of the deposit and to which bank account the deposit went into. (They may balk.) You also need to contact the post office and report the theft (federal crime) and also open a case with the local police department for the theft as they may have to request the scan of the check. Ask if they have camera surveillance for their boxes. In our case, the operators were not very helpful as they had no control over who grabbed the check. But the perpetrator was caught stealing from several mail boxes and sent to jail and was charged with making restitution. It took months to get all parties to work together! You may want to consider doing direct deposit if the operator will do that. Safer…

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