Former Asbury Park Housing Authority Director Mark Holmes is under arrest, charged with embezzliing more than $75,000 of state grant money for his own use, spending thousands on hundreds of unauthorized meals and doubling per-diem expenses.

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According to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Grammiccioni, Holmes was apprehended this morning at his home in Lawrence Township, where he has served on the municipal governing body and also as its mayor.

Prosecutors say that Holmes applied for and obtained a $99,987 grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor just before moving from the Housing Authority's deputy directorship into the executive director's position in November 2008.

The Literacy Skills grant had a purpose of funding training in computers and other skills to people who inhabit public housing in the city.

Between November 19, 2008 and August 14, 2009, prosecutors assert, Holmes transferrred $75,721.40 of the total into the Housing Authority's general operating fund, and later into accounts he opened and controlled.

Investigators say Holmes spent $2,869.86 during a trip to Florida in January and February 2011, using a debit card and an American Express card, and also rang up $16,985.62 with the debit card for 127 meals in Asbury and Lawrence Township.

They further charge that Holmes submitted vouchers amounting to $3,397.28 that he had already charged through the American Express card.

If found guilty of theft by deception, a second-degree offense, Holmes would risk five to 10 years in a state prison.

He was placed in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold with bail set at $70,000.

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