“The clerk does not have authority under the statute to question the validity of a signature on a document presented for recording” and that the issue highlighted in the article did not fall under “our purview to investigate or take action.” ~ Sharon Bock
“What she and the Occupy people are saying is valid,” said Bock. “I think there is a lot wrong with the banks. You’d be deaf, blind and dumb not to see the problem we have between the haves and the have-nots, what the Occupy people are calling the 99 percent … The problem is the clerk’s role is not the right role in which to advocate for these issues.””The question becomes, do we all become advocates? If we do that, what then is the clerk? Am I a policymaker or am I a keeper of the people’s records,” she said. “By statutory authority, I am not a policymaker, [I’m] strictly administerial (sic). My role is solely to protect the integrity of the public’s records and public’s funds. To do that I must remain independent and neutral.” ~ Sharon Bock
“Several residents assailed Bock, accusing her of not doing enough to prevent fraudulent bank documents from entering the court record. Defending herself, Bock said she must leave such “policing” to the judges.” ~ Sharon Bock
Ms. Bock can get involved in one kind of fraud but not another?
Let’s change a few words to see if she could investigate foreclosure fraud…
nearly $1 million over $300 billion in potential fraud in Palm Beach County’s guardian programs property records
WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County Clerk Sharon Bock said Wednesday her office has found more than
$1 million $300 billion in “questionable expenses” “questionable property transfers” by guardians foreclosure mills appointed to act of behalf of wards of the court government in the year since she launched the county’s Guardianship Foreclosure Fraud Hotline.
In the past year, Bock said, her office has also conducted 84 investigations into alleged fraud — including
three eighty four cases in which arrests by local law-enforcement agencies are “imminent,” a clerk’s office statement said.
Bock said she began looking for a way to monitor how
court wards foreclosure mills are treated a few years ago, fearing that a tightened economy would lead to mismanagement and fraud among those assigned to act on behalf of juvenile, elderly or mentally incapacitated people Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Banks.
“There’s a misconception out there that
wards of the court foreclosure mills typically have no resources repercussions, and that’s just not true,” she said, adding that there are wards foreclosure mills with access to millions billions of dollars. “With the amount of potential exposure, we knew we needed to put something in place.”
So Bock established a hot line — believed to be one of the first of its kind in Florida — and hired a
guardianship foreclosure fraud auditor to investigate fraud claims. Bock said she also reached out to interim Palm Beach State Attorney Peter Antonacci, who on Wednesday said he welcomed the oversight from the clerk’s office.
Antonacci added that the more than $300 billion potential fraud figure didn’t surprise him.
“When there are those kinds of resources out there, there will be people who will try to abuse them,” he said, “and it’s unfortunate.”
Charles Contessa, a West Palm Beach member of the National Guardianship Association, A nationally know and well respected local foreclosure defense attorney said he became acquainted with instances of people trying to defraud the court wards with the first elderly couple he decided to represent as a guardian in a foreclosure defense case. He had to intercede on the couple’s behalf to stop a doctor bank from charging them exorbitant fees, and he chased away an aide the bank’s “home inspector” who stole the couple’s jewelry.
“What I’ve found is that in the case of the elderly, there are people who are well-skilled at befriending them and ultimately taking advantage of them,” Contessa said. “It’s disappointing to hear a
guardian lender would do that, given the scrutiny that goes with the process of becoming a guardian making a loan. But unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people out there who will take advantage.”
Anyone who suspects a
guardian foreclosure mill, family member bank, attorney or caregiver loan officer of improper financial activities is urged to call (561) 355-FRAUD (355-3728). Reports also can be made by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or online through the clerk’s Guardianship Foreclosure Fraud Hotline page, at www.mypalmbeachclerk.com/fraud, according to the clerk’s office.