Howell woman charged with stealing from second employer


A Howell woman who was criminally charged in January with swindling a former employer out of more than $2.2 million over seven years has been additionally criminally charged with stealing more than $67,000 from her next employer, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced on Feb. 25.

Donna Cook, 52, is charged with third degree theft by unlawful taking, third degree forgery and third degree false uttering, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

After news coverage of Cook’s January arrest circulated, her next employer, an excavating company based in Shrewsbury, reviewed its financial records and discovered that from early November 2021 to 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 prosecutor’s office Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau.

Cook turned herself in again to authorities on Feb. 25, after which she was released with a pending first appearance to take place in state Superior Court, according to the press release.

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 alleged actions taken while Cook worked for her previous employer, a construction company based in Tinton Falls.

The prosecutor’s office thanked 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 asked to contact Detective Michael Acquaviva at 800-533-7443.

If convicted on the second degree offense, Cook faces up to 10 years in state prison, according to the press release.