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News Release

CLERK BOCK TO HIGHLIGHT OFFICE’S SUCCESSFUL EFFORTS
TO FIGHT, CRIMINALIZE GUARDIANSHIP FRAUD

Bock joined by State Attorney Aronberg, Chief Deputy Gauger for guardianship speech

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (July 11, 2013) - With Palm Beach County’s senior population and the number of guardianship cases growing, Clerk Sharon Bock launched a program to help protect Palm Beach County’s most vulnerable citizens from fraud.

Now in its second year, the Clerk & Comptroller’s Guardianship Fraud Program is a success, sending cases to law enforcement that have resulted in two arrests so far, and turned up more than $2.7 million in questionable expenses and missing assets.

On Friday, July 12, Clerk Bock will be joined by State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Chief Deputy Michael Gauger of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office to discuss the fight against guardianship fraud in Palm Beach County during their keynote address at the Florida State Guardianship Association’s “Guardians Roundup” annual conference at the PGA Resort in Palm Beach Gardens.

Their presentation will highlight “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Guardianship Fraud.” The presentation will include examples of cases that were identified by the Clerk’s office, audited by the Clerk’s Inspector General, turned over to law enforcement for further investigation and arrest, and then prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office.

“In order to create a deterrent against future fraud, you need to have law enforcement willing to take on these cases after the initial audit by the Clerk’s Inspector General, and you need to have prosecutors willing to bring charges against perpetrators,” Clerk Bock said. “Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and State Attorney Dave Aronberg are committed to continuing these efforts to criminalize these acts against the most vulnerable of our citizenry.”

Clerk Bock launched the Guardianship Fraud Hotline in September 2011, to give people a way to anonymously report suspicious activity in guardianship cases. The hotline was the first of its kind in Palm Beach County, and among the first in Florida.

Anyone who suspects a guardian, family member, attorney or caregiver of improper financial activities such as stealing money from a ward’s account, selling off a ward’s property or making suspicious loans or money transfers is urged to call (561) 355-FRAUD (355-3728). Reports also can be made by e-mail to fraud@mypalmbeachclerk.com, or online through the Clerk’s Guardianship Fraud Hotline page, at www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/fraud.

The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents.  In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.

 

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