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Former CFO of Long Branch Apartment Building Charged for $1.6 Million Theft

Freehold Township

By: Najla Alexander 

Authorities in Monmouth County announced that the former chief financial officer of a low-income housing high-rise in Long Branch has been charged with stealing more than $1.6 million from his former employer for more than 14 years.AdMonmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago said John O’Donnell, 57, of Scotch Plains (Union County), has been charged with second-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking, third-degree Forgery, and third-degree False Uttering.

Officials stated that an investigation into O’Donnell’s activities by the MCPO Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau was initiated in June 2023 after the company that owns Washington Manor, which manages 100 housing units for seniors and disabled individuals on the 300 block of Ocean Boulevard, took note of a $14,000 life-insurance payout to O’Donnell, prompting an internal audit.

The investigation determined that from February 2009 into May 2023, O’Donnell issued approximately 400 unauthorized checks from company accounts to a construction firm he owned, totaling in excess of $1.6 million, many containing the forged signature of a Washington Manor employee, officials said.

He used the stolen funds for personal expenses such as mortgage payments, according to officials.AdFrom December 2020 to May 2023, officials say, O’Donnell also used a Washington Manor credit card for unauthorized personal purchases, such as home renovations, pool services, and HVAC repair, totaling in excess of $30,000.

Authorities say O’Donnell was charged via summons earlier today pending a first appearance in Monmouth County Superior Court scheduled to take place on Tuesday, February 20.