|Sharon Bock, Clerk of Courts Palm Beach County|
Palm Beach County's Clerk & Comptroller office uncovered more than $5.1 million in unsubstantiated disbursements, missing assets and fraud in the probate court's guardianship program.
Clerk Sharon Bock implemented a guardianship fraud program and hotline in 2009 to allow anonymous tips on waste and financial fraud in court-appointed guardianships over the elderly, minor children and other wards. She has since audited and investigated more than 900 cases involving allegations of missing money or property, suspicious loans, financial transfers, unauthorized access to bank accounts, conflicts of interests and other violations of federal, state or local laws, according to a statement Tuesday.
That work earned Bock's program international recognition at the 4th World Congress on Adult Guardianship held Sept. 14-17 in Berlin, where it was the only U.S. venture among eight others honored for innovation.
"The exploitation of our most vulnerable citizens is not only an issue in the United States, it is a worldwide crisis," Bock said. "I have made it my mission to team up with leaders on a national and international level to strengthen guardianship laws."
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Palm Beach Clerk's Office Honored for Guardianship Fraud Program