Originally Posted by Lawdog
There is no downside to cashing the cheques, unless they bounce and you have to pay a service charge.
Cashing a cheque that is part payment is not an admission that you have accepted that sum as retiring the obligation.
Since he has taken your money up front and failed to deliver or refund, he does have some criminal risk if you can get the police interested.
Im addition, I beleive that a civil suit is possible and much easier to process as there is less of a burden of proof required and less rigid proceedures.
All though it may become more work than its worth. I'd still go afeter the bastard, but you can always chalk it off to a learning experience.