Mark W. Holmes, 52 of Lawrence Township (Mercer County), the former Executive Director of the Asbury Park Housing Authority, was arrested yesterday and charged with Second Degree Theft By Deception, according to a statement released by Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiconni.
The charges allege that Holmes, also a former Mayor and Councilman in Lawrence Township, stole in excess of $75,000 while directing Asbury Park’s 587 public housing units. The funds came from a $99,897 Department of Labor and Work Force Development grant that was intended to pay for computer training and other marketable skills for the public housing residents.
Additionally, Holmes is charged with using the Housing Authority’s debit card and an American Express for personal expenses of almost $20,000 and for submitting reimbursement vouchers for $3,397.28 in expenses he charged to the American Express card.
The investigation was conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office of Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau. Assistant Prosecutor John Loughrey, director of the bureau, is prosecuting the case.
Holmes is currently living in public housing at Golden’s Palace in Freehold. His bail is $70,000 with a 10% cash option. If convicted, he faces 5-10 years in State Prison.
Official Misconduct was not among the charges listed against Holmes in Gramiconni’s statement. Official Misconduct convictions in New Jersey require minimum imprisonment terms without eligibility for parole.
Holmes resigned his job suddenly in June of 2011. In July of 2011 the Housing Commissioners asked federal housing officials and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate financial mismanagement under Holmes’ watch. Holmes had held the job since late in 2008.