An Ocean County man has been accused of ripping off an auto dealership where he used to work, pocketing over one million dollars in a billing scheme, authorities said.
Martin D’Amato, 37, of Beachwood, was arrested on Monday and charged with money laundering and theft, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
Nearly a year ago, a dealership in Toms River contacted the prosecutor’s office, saying that D’Amato had been in charge of digital advertising for the business and that he was authorized to hire freelance advertising and marketing companies.
An internal review revealed that the company credit cards had been “maxed out” beyond D’Amato’s budgets and by October — an elaborate shell company scam was discovered, Billhimer said.
Investigators have said that D’Amato created “multiple limited liability companies – under his personal control – to create the appearance he was retaining legitimate advertising and marketing services for the dealership,” as he pocketed more than $1.3 million for personal use.
D’Amato took additional steps to hide his association with the made-up companies, by using an online payment processing service to bill the dealership.
According to a Linkedin account for D’Amato, he had worked for Pine Belt Automotive in Toms River as “Internet Director” starting in 2009.
While the prosecutor’s office said he no longer worked for the dealership in question, it was not immediately clear as of Tuesday when his employment had ended.
He was being held at Ocean County jail, pending a detention hearing.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]
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