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News Release

CLERK BOCK HONORED FOR GUARDIANSHIP FRAUD PROGRAM

Clerk Bock earns recognition from National Adult Protective Services Association

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (November 6, 2014) – Clerk Sharon Bock received the 2014 Joanne Otto Distinguished Service Award from the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) in recognition of her Guardianship Fraud Program.

The award was given during NAPSA’s annual conference in Portland, OR. Clerk Bock was unable to accept the award in person, but sent a letter thanking NAPSA for the prestigious honor.

“I am truly proud of the work we have accomplished in Florida and in Palm Beach County,” Clerk Bock said. “I share this honor with my Division of Inspector General that is devoted to investigating guardianship fraud, waste and abuse.”

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

The Clerk’s Guardianship Fraud program has become a model for Florida and within its first three years, the program identified over $3.1 million of misappropriated assets and fraud directed towards the elderly in Palm Beach County.

Clerk Bock’s guardianship program served as the basis for legislation passed during the 2014 legislative session to provide all 67 Florida’s Clerks with the authority to create enhanced guardianship fraud programs. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott and took effect July 1, 2014.

Since the program’s launch, Clerk Bock has addressed the World Congress on Adult Guardianship and the National Guardianship Association on her guardianship program’s success.

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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