FREEHOLD – The Howell woman who was criminally charged last month with swindling a former employer out of more than $2.2 million over the course of seven years has been additionally criminally charged with stealing more than $67,000 from her next employer, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.
Donna Cook, 52, is charged with third-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking, third-degree Forgery, and third-degree False Uttering.
After news coverage of Cook’s January arrest circulated, her next employer, a Shrewsbury-based excavating company, reviewed its financial records – and discovered that from early November 2021 into early January 2022, Cook had allegedly written multiple checks out to cash, and an additional check made out to directly pay a personal expense, with forged signatures, according to an investigation by the MCPO Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau.
Cook turned herself in again to authorities on Friday, after which she was released with a pending first appearance to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court. The arrest was made a little more than a week after her scheduled first appearance in the initial case against her, which resulted in separate charges of second-degree Theft, third-degree Forgery, and third-degree False Uttering in connection with Cook’s alleged actions taken while at her previous employer, a Tinton Falls-based construction company.
The Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank the members of the Shrewsbury and Tinton Falls police departments who assisted the two investigations. Anyone with additional information about potentially problematic activities on the part of Cook at any of her places of employment is encouraged to contact MCPO Detective Michael Acquaviva toll-free at (800) 533-7443.
These cases are being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Anastos. Cook is being represented by Allison Friedman, Esq., with an office in Freehold.
If convicted on the second-degree offense, Cook faces up to 10 years in state prison.
Despite the aforementioned pending charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.