A former administrator of a nonprofit will spend a few years behind bars for stealing more than $400,000 from the organization that's devoted to assisting low- and middle-income earners.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday that Debra Agresti, of Long Branch, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison. She has also been ordered to pay back nearly every dollar she stole.

The 59-year-old had pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree theft. She admitted that while working for the Affordable Housing Alliance, she used funds for unauthorized purchases of gift cards and used those cards to pay for personal expenses and to obtain goods and services from various vendors.

Agresti made the unauthorized purchases between August 2012 and March 2019, with a credit card associated with the nonprofit, authorities said. To further the ruse, she intercepted monthly statements and created false invoices to make up for the money she had spent on gift cards.

Agresti acted alone, authorities said, and stole $449,514.22 from the Neptune-based nonprofit that assists individuals and families in Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties.

Agresti was fired from her job in 2019 after the theft was discovered. She was hired by AHA as an administrative assistant in 2007 and was later promoted to director of administration.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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