Former NJ Car Dealership Employee Allegedly Ran Shell Companies to Rip Them Off
A former employee of Honda of Toms River on Route 37 has been arrested and charged for allegedly stealing more than $1 million from the dealership.
The announcement of charges against a Beachwood resident for Money Laundering and Theft came from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.
Martin D'Amato, 37, of Beachwood was arrested, charged, and currently sits in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing after allegedly committing the financial crime where he misappropriated more than $1.3 million from the dealership through several shell companies he set up, according to the investigation run by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Economic Crime Squad.
His alleged nefarious activity came to light in October 2021 when the OCPO-ECS said that they were contacted by "an automobile dealership located in Toms River regarding a fictitious billing scheme which appeared to have been committed by a former employee, Martin D’Amato."
The dealership found some discrepancies where credit card costs topped budget amounts.
In his capacity working at the dealership, D'Amato was in charge of digital advertising, according to the OCPO, where "he was authorized to hire freelance advertising and marketing companies to promote the dealership."
The OCPO was able to uncover the full scope of his scheme in that he set up several, but limited, liability companies he controlled to make it look like he "was retaining legitimate advertising and marketing services for the dealership."
He would then charge the dealer corporate credit card "for services never rendered by these fictitious shell companies."
D'Amato is then accused of trying to remain stealth under the guise of his shell companies as he would bill the dealership for services using an online payment processing service, according to the OCPO, and he then transferred stolen proceeds to accounts he controlled so that he could use the money for his personal benefit.
Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad arrested D'Amato on Monday.
Multiple requests for comment made by Townsquare Media News to the Honda of Toms River on the charges have not yet been returned.