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Former dealership employee accused of stealing $1.3 million

A former employee of Pine Belt Nissan of Toms River has been charged with money laundering and theft, with prosecutors alleging he stole in excess of $1.3 million.

Martin D’Amato, 37, worked in a digital advertising role for the northern New Jersey store. He allegedly charged the dealership for advertising contracts to shell companies he created in an elaborate scheme, a news release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said.

After the funds were transferred to the shell accounts he owned, D’Amato allegedly used the money for personal use.

The plot was found after an internal review of credit card budgets. The dealership contacted the prosecutor’s office in October 2021 about the findings.

D’Amato was arrested Monday by detectives in the office’s Economic Crime Squad. He is being held at Ocean County Jail in Toms River while awaiting a detention hearing.

Pine Belt Nissan in Toms River did not immediately respond to Automotive News‘ request for comment. previously reported on this story.

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