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News Release

Clerk Sharon Bock’s office awarded $20,000 to aid in the fight against Guardianship Fraud

Guardianship Fraud Program and Hotline recognized at national level

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (March 23, 2016) – Clerk & Comptroller Sharon R. Bock was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award in the Public Policy category for her innovative Guardianship Fraud Program & Hotline. Bock accepted the award during the Aging in America Conference and Awards Reception on March 22 in Washington D.C. As the honoree, the Clerk & Comptroller’s office received $20,000 in recognition of its accomplishments towards addressing the needs of Alzheimer's patients and caregivers.

The Clerk’s office is the only government organization in the state to win this national award and was selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants. Because of the Guardianship program, Florida is the only state to perform guardianship audits that are independent of the court system.

“It has become my mission to strengthen statewide guardianship laws ensuring our most vulnerable citizens receive the protection they deserve,” said Clerk Sharon R. Bock, Esq. “This award reaffirms the need for our Guardianship Fraud Program & Hotline and will enable my office to continue to explore new ways to serve our rapidly growing senior population.”

The Guardianship program was created to identify guardianship fraud, waste and financial mismanagement. Using the Guardianship Fraud Hotline, citizens can anonymously report potential incidents of financial fraud or waste involving court-appointed guardianships over elderly, minor children and incapacitated individuals.

Since the inception of the hotline, the Clerk & Comptroller’s accredited Division of Inspector General has audited and investigated more than 900 guardianship cases and identified more than $4.5 million in unsubstantiated disbursements, missing assets and fraud.

In June 2007, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation convened a panel of experts to review issues facing caregivers of adults with Alzheimer’s disease. Outcomes of the meeting included a report of the discussion and the development of The Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver Legacy Award.

The program, managed by Family Caregiver Alliance, promotes innovation in the field of Alzheimer's disease caregiving by recognizing and rewarding innovative efforts that lead the way in the areas of policy and advocacy, creative expression and diverse multicultural communities. This is the fifth year of the awards program.

For more information about the Clerk’s Guardianship Fraud Program and Hotline, visit 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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