Former Nissan Dealership Employee Charged With Stealing $1.3 Million


Pine Belt Nissan may have been defrauded of more than a million dollars by one of its former employees. Martin D’Amato was arrested on September 19 and is being charged with money laundering and theft, according to the Ocean County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s Office.

The office, according to, first became aware of misdeeds after it was contacted by the dealership, which is located in Toms River, New Jersey, regarding a fictitious billing scheme that prosecutors now accuse D’Amato of having been behind.

The company reported that the employee was in charge of digital advertising for the dealership. In that position, he was authorized to hire freelance advertising and marketing companies to help with promotional campaigns.

Read Also: Car Salesman Allegedly Defrauded Dealership, Got Fired, And Then Scammed Over 30 Customers

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad alleges that D’Amato used his position at the dealership to line his own pockets. By creating a number of limited liability companies that were under his control, prosecutors claim that he charged the Pine Belt Nissan for services that were never rendered while creating the appearance of retaining legitimate advertising and marketing services.

In all, D’Amato is accused of misappropriating $1.3 million from the dealership through these shell companies and of using an online payment processing service to conceal his association with the limited liability companies. He then allegedly transferred the funds to his own accounts and used them for his personal gain.

The investigation was started after an internal review at Pine Belt Nissan revealed that the company credit card had exceeded budget amounts. After being arrested on September 19, 2022, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office took D’Amato to Ocean County Jail to await a detention hearing.


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