Archive for the ‘Guardianship Fraud Hotline’ Category

Florida Woman Charged With Stealing Money From Her Son’s Guardianship Account

April 28, 2013

A Lake Worth woman has been charged with stealing more than $37,000 from her son’s guardianship bank account.
Melody May Henderson of Lake Worth was arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and charged with one count of grand theft.

Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts Sharon Bock’s Division of Inspector General conducted the investigation of Henderson.

Fraud investigators from the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office received a tip in September 2012 about the possible misuse of funds from the account.

Investigators say that Henderson told them that she used the money from her son’s account to pay for his medical bills and to purchase a car to drive him, however she couldn’t account for $20,000 of the $37,000 lawsuit settlement.

The PBC Clerk’s Office says that the settlement money was placed in a restricted bank account which required a judge’s permission to be withdrawn.

The arrest is the second by the Guardian Fraud program according to the Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office.

Melody Henderson Charged With Stealing Money From Her Son’s Guardianship Account

FL: Dad Squandered Daugher’s $58K Inheritance

February 2, 2013

A new car, new TV and flight tickets for his girlfriend were apparently more important than his own daughter’s future.

A man who splits his time between Nashville and Palm Beach County is accused of frittering away his daughter’s $58,000 inheritance from her late mother — who died in 2011.

Willie Edward Lockridge, 41, allegedly went on a shopping spree that was kickstarted when he intercepted a check mailed to his brother — the girl’s court-appointed plenary guardian.

According to a Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Lockridge spent $28,088.14 on a 2007 Jaguar XK, $1,323 on a 54-inch plasma TV, and also spent the money on plane tickets for his girlfriend, shoes, jewelry and other items.

The girl’s mother died on Oct. 30, 2011, and left her daughter $58,866.61, the proceeds from a 401(K) employee stock ownership program from Costco, where the mother worked.

Lockridge came under investigative scrutiny in August 2012. That’s when a tip was received by fraud auditors working in the Division of Inspector General in the Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller’s Office.

Lockridge was arrested Jan. 8 in Nashville and charged with larceny over $20,000 and fraud.

“This exemplifies how our Guardianship Fraud Program protects Palm Beach County’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock in a statement, noting it was the first arrest since the launch of the Gaurdianship Fraud Hotline in 2011.

Full Article and Source:
Dad Squandered Daughter’s $58,000 Inheritance for Car, Flight for Girlfriend, Say Deputies

Palm Beach County Guardian Audit Turns Up Big Questions!

November 4, 2012

At least three people in Palm Beach County are expected to be arrested, for stealing money from the elderly… the frail, and foster kids.

The Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller’s Office has spent months doing audits of the county’s guardianship program and found over $1 million in questionable expenses and possible theft.

Some of the cases they investigated came in as tips on the Clerk’s office Guardianship Fraud Hotline.

They say they found some cases of fraud, which were turned over to police or the sheriff’s office for further investigation.

“As long as I’m Clerk and as long as the courts are looking at this then we should use everything in our power to deter this kind of behavior,” said Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller.

Palm Beach County has about 2700 people who have court-appointed guardians who handle their financial affairs.

The clerk’s audits found over $1 million in questionable expenses and possible theft.

No one has been arrested so far. But according to the clerk’s office Boynton Beach Police and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are involved, and arrests are expected soon..

Full Article and Source:
Audit Turns Up Big Questions
See Also:
Guardianship Fraud Hotline

‘Guardianship Fraud Awareness Month" in Palm Beach County, FL

October 15, 2011

At the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Oct. 4, 2011, Commissioner Aaronson presented a proclamation declaring October 2011 as “Guardianship Fraud Awareness Month” in Palm Beach County. Pictured above (l to r): Anthony Palmieri, Commissioner Burt Aaronson, Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock, Alan Bray.
Guardianship Fraud Awareness Month

New "Guardianship Fraud Hotline" in Palm Beach Co, FL.

September 19, 2011

More than 2,500 Palm Beach County children, elderly and disabled residents who depend on a court-appointed guardian to manage their finances may now have additional protection against fraud or misuse of their money.

The county’s Clerk of Courts Monday launched the Guardianship Fraud Hotline, where anyone who suspects a guardian is stealing money, misusing assets or overcharging a ward can report it to county officials.

In addition to the hotline, the Clerk of Courts has beefed up its guardianship audits since February, when clerk Sharon Bock hired an auditor to solely look at potential fraud and misuse by guardians. Six additional auditors have also been trained to closely examine guardianship complaints .

“As the economy became more and more of a problem, it became clear that the people who are really very vulnerable were potentially going to fall victim to exploitation,” Bock said. The hotline and additional auditors cost the court about $100,000, she said.

While U.S. Census figures point to a future increase of the senior citizen population in Palm Beach County, Bock said it was the ideal time to put in place a system that would guarantee some of the county’s most needy residents would be protected.

The hotline, Bock added, will serve “a deterrent effect to the guardians who are under the court watch, so they know that in the event that something goes wrong or in the event that anyone suspects something is going wrong, they will be audited and their information will be examined.”

Among the complaints typically handled by auditors include money missing from a person’s account and overcharging for legal or clerical fees, said Anthony Palmieri, senior auditor for the clerk’s division of the Inspector General’s office.

“We are looking with a fine-toothed comb what the guardian is actually doing with the ward’s assets,” Bock said. “Up until this started there was nothing to turn to.”

Guardians Face Audits, Hotline Complaints Under New Palm Beach County Clerk Service

Contact the Guardianship Fraud Hotline