Executive Director of Ocean City Housing Authority Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Federal Funds

By: Christopher A. Iacono

A recent case in the District of New Jersey, United States v. Alesia Watson, No. 17-05537 (D.N.J.), illustrates the government’s continued efforts against white collar crime. The executive director of the Ocean City, New Jersey Housing Authority (the “OCHA”) pleaded guilty to embezzling federal funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) and administrated by the OCHA. According to court documents, the executive director used two credit cards to purchase sixty-nine Master Card gift cards during the period of December 2013 through March 2015. The executive director used the gift cards either for personal expenses not associated with the OCHA, or provided the gift cards to family members and friends. The executive director then used federal funds received from HUD and administrated by the OCHA to pay the credit card bills associated with the purchased gift cards. The government estimates the loss was somewhere between $6,500.00 and $15,000.00.

The embezzlement charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and $100,000.00 fine or twice the gain/ loss amount from the offense. Sentencing is set for August 15, 2017.

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