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Ex-Asbury Park Housing Chief Accused Of Stealing Over $75,000

Mark Holmes Resigned From His Post In 2011
Handcuff (credit: clipart.com)

Handcuffs (credit: clipart.com)

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FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The head of the Asbury Park Housing Authority has been charged theft by deception, after prosecutors claimed he stole more than $75,000 from the agency.

Mark Holmes, 52, of Lawrence, stood accused this week by Monmouth County prosecutors of diverting state grant funds, collecting reimbursements for unauthorized meals and double-dipping on per diem payments when traveling.

Holmes became the leader of the housing authority in December 2008 and held the post until he resigned in April 2011. Operational control of the agency was eventually turned over to the Long Branch Housing Authority, whose control of the agency was recently extended.

Prosecutors said a few months before being named the authority’s executive director, Holmes applied for and received a $99,897 literacy skills training grant from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to provide training in computers and marketable skills for Asbury Park residents.

Between November 2008 and August 2009, Holmes allegedly transferred $75,721 of the grant into the authority’s general operating fund and then moved the money into his accounts he opened and controlled.

Prosecutors also claim Holmes used a debit card and a credit card to spend almost $20,000 on unauthorized purchases. That amount includes $2,869 for personal purchases during a trip to Florida in early 2011, and $16,985 for dozens of meals in Asbury Park and Lawrence.

Holmes was freed Friday after posting $70,000 bail. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

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