A former DeKalb County Commissioner accused of misappropriating funds intended for business travel has admitted guilt.

During what was scheduled to be a pre-trial hearing Wednesday morning, Stan Watson, 63, entered a guilty plea to a single count of theft by conversion in connection with his handling of county-issued funds totaling approximately $3,000.

The charge against Watson dates back to January 2016 when he served as District 7 Commissioner. At that time, Watson requested and received advance checks for travel expenses related to upcoming business conferences. However, in March 2016, prior to attending those conferences, Watson resigned to run for DeKalb tax commissioner.

The county-issued funds were then used illegally for personal expenses.

In October 2016, FBI agents interviewed Watson and confronted him about the travel funds which were issued to him. Watson admitted to having the money and acknowledged that it should be repaid. However, he did not do so until approximately five months later in March 2017, a year after the money should have been returned.

During court proceedings Wednesday, Watson entered a guilty plea and asked the court to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and sentence him to 12 months’ probation as a first offender.

Prosecutors requested Watson be sentenced to five years’ probation, the maximum penalty for the charges.

DeKalb Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson reduced the charge against Watson to a misdemeanor, but ordered Watson to perform 150 hours of community service and barred him from conducting business with or for DeKalb County for the duration of his probation.