Finance Unit Frequently Asked Questions


What forms of payment does the court accept?

The court accepts payments made by cash, checks, money orders, cashiers checks, and credit and debit cards at the front counter (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover). payments through CM/ECF are accepted for new case filing, appeals, attorney admissions, pro hac vice, and audio recording fees.

New! Payments for criminal debt and audio recordings may be made through the website.

View instructions for paying criminal debt using

Go to criminal debt payment page (

Go to audio recording payment page ( 

Wire deposits are only accepted for large registry, restitution and fine payments. Please call the Finance Unit at 415-522-4621 or email at for wire instructions. A court order for payment of funds to the court is required before wire instructions are provided.

How should the check be made payable?

Please make checks payable to “Clerk, U.S. District Court.” Write your case number and any other reference number or information on your check so that we can properly apply your payment. Make sure that you have entered all the required information (correct payee name, amount, date, your signature, all corrections initialed, etc.) on your check before mailing to our office to avoid having your check returned to you.

Where should I send my check?

You may mail your check to any of the following offices:

U.S. District Court
450 Golden Gate Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102
U.S. District Court
1301 Clay St., Suite 400S
Oakland, CA 94612
U.S. District Court
280 South First St., Rm 2112
San Jose, CA 95113

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Who do I call to find out my outstanding balance for criminal debt (special assessment, restitution, fine)?

Please call the Finance Unit at 415-522-4621 for the principal amount owed. You will need to call the U.S. Attorney's Financial Litigation Unit at 415-436-6970 to find out how much interest and/or penalty amounts might have been assessed on the balance that is due. The Clerk's Office Finance Unit is not able to calculate interest or penalty amounts.

Who do I contact to inquire about a restitution payment?

Please call the Finance Unit at (415) 522-4621 for the status of restitution payments.  Restitution payments can only be made when there are funds available.  Funds are held for 6-8 weeks before disbursement to ensure the checks clear.  If there are no funds available, we do not know when there will be funds available for disbursement.  You can try contacting the U.S. Attorney's Financial Litigation Unit or Probation Office on the status.

Restitution monies received are pro-rated to all victims in a case based on the amount of loss, unless the court orders one or more victims to be paid first or in a different priority.  Restitution is paid first to individuals before insurer and federal victims.  Payments are made once a month.  A victim's pro-rated amount at the time of disbursement must be $25.00 or more to receive a payment, unless it is a final payment less than $25.00. 

Payments are made on U.S. Treasury checks.  The case number and defendant's name should be on the check or check stub.  Please contact the Finance Unit at (415) 522-4621 or email at if you are not able to determine which case this check is for.  Please provide the check number and date with your inquiry.

Who do I contact to notify about a change of address for restitution checks?

Please send a letter, fax or e-mail to us with the case title and number to the Finance Unit at U.S. District Court, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, fax (415) 522-2150, or e-mail at  Please provide your last mailing address in your request.

What do I need to do to change the payee's name on a restitution check due to marriage, divorce, death, next of kin or successor business?

We cannot change the name on the restitution check without a court order.  For name changes due to marriage or divorce, submit to the judge who presided the case a request to change your name with supporting documentation attached.

For representatives of a victim's estate or next of kin, submit to the judge who presided the case a request with documentation showing you have the rights to the restitution monies owed to the deceased victim.

For successor business entities, submit to the court a request with documentation showing the successor business has rights to inherit the original victim's restitution payments.

If approved, the judge will issue a court order authorizing the name change on future restitution payments.  Please provide a copy of this court order to the Finance Unit at

If funds have been transferred to Treasury's unclaimed funds accounts, please follow the instructions on our Unclaimed Funds section and submit the applicable forms to the Finance Unit for review and approval before submission to the judge.  Contact the Finance Unit at 415-522-4621 or to find out if funds have been transferred to unclaimed funds before completing the forms.

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How is the money that is deposited with the court for bonds, interpleader funds, and other funds in the court's registry invested?

The money is invested in short-term nonmarketable Government Account Series securities through the United States Department of the Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service that will be held at Treasury, in an account in the name and credit of the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Please refer to General Order 31 (.pdf) “Deposit and Investment of Registry Funds” for additional information.

How do I get my money which was posted for a criminal bond returned to me?

A court order to return the funds or to exonerate the bond is required to release the criminal bond.  Unless otherwise ordered, the money will be returned to the person(s) named on the Affidavit of Owner of Cash Security form completed at the time the money was posted. Please refer to General Order 55 (.pdf) “Bond Exoneration and the Posting and Return of Property” for more information.

How can I get a removal of lien and reconveyance for my property which was posted to the court to secure bail?

A court order to reconvey the property or to exonerate the bond is required to release the lien from the property. If there is no such court order, please contact defense counsel to obtain one.

Once a court order has been obtained, please submit a completed Reconveyance form to the Finance Unit for signature along with a copy of the deed of trust.

If the Clerk, U.S. District Court is not named as the trustee on the deed of trust, you will also need to complete and submit a Substitution of Trustee form to substitute the Clerk, U.S. District Court as the trustee instead of the named trustee, along with the completed Reconveyance form.  

If the property is located outside the state of California, please submit whatever documents that state requires for us to sign in order to remove the lien from your property.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to record the signed Reconveyance and/or other applicable forms at the recorder's office where the property is located in order to remove the lien from the property.

Please refer to General Order 55 (.pdf) “Bond Exoneration and the Posting and Return of Property” for additional information.

Why did I receive a 1099-INT form?

A 1099-INT form is mailed in January of each year to each recipient who received at least $10 of interest income from the court in the prior year.  The interest income is from money deposited in the court's registry for criminal bonds, interpleader funds, and other cases pending the outcome of the litigation.  Additional information about the 1099-INT form can be found on the IRS website at

Where can I find post-judgment interest rates?

Post-judgment interest rates can be found at

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