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Ex-DeKalb County commissioner Stan Watson pleads guilty to theft

Crime and public safety Metro ATL slideshow

Ex-DeKalb County commissioner Stan Watson pleads guilty to theft

Stan Watson

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Stan Watson

Stan Watson, a former county commissioner who ran unsuccessfully for tax commissioner, has pleaded guilty to stealing taxpayer money, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said.

Watson pleaded guilty to theft by conversion. He admitted to using county funds for business travel on personal expenses.

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“The charge against Watson dates back to January 2016 when he served as District 7 Commissioner,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “At that time, Watson requested and received advance checks for [$3,000 in] travel expenses related to upcoming business conferences. However, in March 2016, prior to attending those conferences, the Commissioner resigned his position to run for DeKalb County Tax Commissioner.  The county-issued funds were then used illegally for personal expenses.”

The FBI’s Public Corruption unit interviewed Watson about the matter in October 2016.

“Watson admitted to having the money and acknowledged that it should be repaid,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “However, he did not do so until approximately five months later in March 2017—a year after the money should have been returned. County policy requires any funds advanced, but not used for travel, be repaid to the County immediately.”

The state has requested that he be sentenced to five years probation. DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson reduced the charge to a misdemeanor over the state’s objection, the District Attorney’s Office said.

“During court proceedings today, Watson entered a non-negotiated guilty plea and asked the Court to use its discretion under the law and reduce the charge against him from a felony to a misdemeanor and sentence him to 12 months’ probation as a First Offender,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “The State requested that Watson be sentenced to five (5) years’ probation, the maximum allowed under law for the charge of Theft by Conversion.”

Watson was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service and barred from conducting business with the county during the duration of his probation.

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