The former director of the Brick Township housing authority was sentenced to a probationary term for taking funds from a different authority for personal use.
Alesia Watson, 54, of Galloway, was sentenced to three years of probation for embezzling federal funds from the Ocean City Housing Authority. Watson, who previous had to resign from the Atlantic City housing authority over prior financial offenses, served concurrently as director of the Brick and Ocean City authorities, spending part of her week at each. In a March 2015 interview with Shorebeat, Watson spoke openly about her prior convictions.
Watson was also ordered to pay restitution of $8,050, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced Thursday. Watson was never charged with stealing funds from the Brick authority.
According to prosecutors, as executive director, Watson had access to two credit cards maintained by the Ocean City Housing Authority. From December 2013 through March 2015, Watson purchased 69 MasterCard gift cards using these two OCHA credit cards.
She used the gift cards for personal expenses not associated with OCHA or provided them to friends and family members. Watson then used federal funds received from HUD and administered by OCHA to pay the credit card bills associated with the purchase of the gift cards. According to the plea agreement, the loss associated with the embezzlement was more than $6,500 but less than $15,000.