FREEHOLDA former administrator of a Neptune Township-based nonprofit has been sentenced to five years in New Jersey State Prison after pleading guilty to stealing over $400,000 from the organization over the course of nearly seven years, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Monday.

Debra Agresti, 59, of Long Branch had pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree Theft before Presiding Monmouth County Superior Court Criminal Division Judge David F. Bauman in January 2020, admitting that while working for the Affordable Housing Alliance, she made unauthorized purchases of numerous gift cards to pay for personal expenses and to obtain various goods and services from multiple vendors.

An investigation revealed that between August 2012 and March 2019, Agresti purchased gift cards with a credit card associated with the nonprofit, which provides housing, support, and services to low- and middle-income individuals and families in Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties. In order to conceal her misuse of the credit card, Agresti intercepted monthly statements and created false invoices matching the amounts she spent on the gift cards, instead listing purchases of ordinary office supplies. It was determined that the amount stolen by the defendant, who acted alone in orchestrating the scheme, totaled $449,514.22.

Agresti was originally hired by the Affordable Housing Alliance as an administrative assistant in 2007, then later promoted to Director of Administration. She was terminated in 2019 after the theft was discovered. She was sentenced on Friday, January 21, 2022 by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English, who also ordered restitution in the amount of $446,514.22.

The case was assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer.

Agresti was represented by Matthew Jordan, Esq., with an office in Neptune City.