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mcpo shield 120FREEHOLD – A 30-year employee of an Eatontown-based manufacturing business has been arrested for stealing over $600,000 from her employer over a two-year period, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Michelle Pulignano, 51, of Middletown, has been charged with second degree theft following a three-month investigation. If convicted of the second degree offense, Pulignano faces up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison.

The charges stem from a joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Eatontown Police Department sparked by a referral from the owner of an Eatontown-based manufacturing business on May 1, 2017, regarding a suspected employee theft.

The investigation revealed that between April 1, 2017 and April 17, 2019, Pulignano, who was employed as a bookkeeper at an Eatontown-based manufacturing business for the past thirty years, awarded herself unauthorized salary increases and personal bonuses in the amount of $223,846.00. In addition, during the same time period, she wrote checks to herself in the amount of $450,000 from the company’s payroll account without authorization. The investigation determined she used the funds for her own personal benefit.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer.

Despite these 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.