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Manatee County Clerk of Court Finds nearly 80-thousand dollars in Potential CARES Act Claims Fraudulent Activity

The Division of Inspector General at the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller’s Office has identified a total of $77,000 of potential fraudulent activity in CARES Act claims and are currently reviewing more cases that could increase this amount. These cases have been referred to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for investigation. The Inspector General’s Office has also prevented over $500,000 in ineligible CARES Act payments to date.  In addition to these cases, the Clerk’s Inspector General has also identified two possible cases of homestead fraud.  Those cases have been referred to the Property Appraisers Office. Our Auditors and Certified Fraud Examiners have been working closely with Manatee County’s Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity Department (REO) to audit and investigate claims and cases. Moving forward, the Inspector General’s Division along with the County’s REO Department will continue to monitor and review CARES Act funding and work with law enforcement as needed.       

“Our Inspectors and Auditors are all dedicated to testing the CARES payments and ensuring that only those who qualify for these dollars will receive them and those who commit fraud in anyway will be held accountable for their actions,” said Angelina Colonneso, Manatee Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller.  “To those who wish to exploit the system, we will find you and you will be held accountable.  This is an ongoing endeavor with a great deal of work being put in by our team.”  

Manatee County is distributing up to $70-million in CARES Act funding for costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Manatee CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) is designed to help residents, business owners, nonprofits, local government agencies and community partners who were financially impacted by the virus.

The Division of Inspector General provides independent, objective assurance and consulting services which are designed to add value and improve the operations of Manatee County Government. As a service to management and the taxpayers of Manatee County, the Division of Inspector General measures and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of various Manatee County departments' and agencies' internal controls. These internal controls include a complex environment of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, policies, and procedures.