Nissan dealer bilked of $1.3 million

Nissan dealership in New Jersey was bilked out of more than $1.3 million by an employee who faked advertising contracts with shell companies he created, prosecutors said.

Martin D’Amato, 37, worked in a digital advertising role for Pine Belt Nissan Toms River. He pretended to hire marketing and advertising companies that were merely set up to funnel money into his personal accounts, charging their nonexistent services to a dealership credit card using an online payment processing service, according to a news release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

The dealership uncovered the fictitious billings when an internal review of its credit card spending determined that D’Amato had exceeded his budgeted amount, prosecutors said. The business contacted the county’s Economic Crime Squad with its findings in October 2021, after D’Amato no longer worked there.

D’Amato was arrested last week on charges of money laundering and theft. Dealership officials did not respond to a request for comment from Automotive News last week.

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