BRICK-Democrats in Brick were sent reeling after one of their own was convicted of embezzling federal housing funds meant for the poor and needy. Yesterday, former Brick Township Housing Authority Executive Director Alesia Watson plead guilty to the embezzlement charges.
Watson was appointed to her $50,000 per year part time position in November of 2014.
“Purely a black eye for the Ducey administration,” said resident Frank Rizzo at the time her latest charges were filed.
According to Brick Shorebeat, Watson was appointed to the position by the Democrat leaning housing board despite prior criminal history. Shorebeat claimed Watson had a criminal record, including theft and credit card fraud. In that 2015 report, Watson said she had abandoned her criminal past, which ran from 1992 through 2003, including serving time in jail.
Less than 5 months at her new job as housing director in the Democrat controlled stronghold, Watson was back to her old ways again. While serving as the Brick Township executive director, she also served on the Ocean County Housing Authority where she had access to two authority credit cards.
She was caught purchasing $6,500 in gift cards for personal use, giving them to friends and family. Watson, according to authorities then had the OCHA reimburse her for those purchases, 69 in total.
Watson lives in Galloway Township, according to the U.S. Department of Justice which prosecuted the case against her.
Alesia Watson, 54, of Galloway Township, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen M. Williams to an information charging her with one count of embezzling federal funds received from HUD and administered by OCHA to which she was not entitled. Judge Williams imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
“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.”
Watson was also ordered to pay restitution of $8,050.
Brick Township is Ocean County’s only large town where Democrats maintain power in both town hall and at the school district.