Former DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson pleaded guilty Wednesday to receiving about $3,000 in advances for government trips and using the money for personal purposes.
Watson, who repaid the money before he was charged with crime, was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 150 hours of community service for a misdemeanor count of theft by conversion.
Watson, 63, withdrew advance checks early last year for conferences in Chicago and Savannah, but then he resigned from office in March 2016 before those trips took place.
County policy requires that unused travel funds must be repaid immediately, but he didn’t complete his reimbursing the government until nearly a year after the trips, according to District Attorney Sherry Boston’s Office.
There was no plea deal, but Watson asked DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson to reduce the charge against him to a misdemeanor, which she agreed to do after listening to testimony about Watson's character and public service. Prosecutors had sought five years on probation.