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Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 19, 2022, Martin D’Amato, 37, of Beachwood, was charged with Money Laundering in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25b(1), as well as Theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a.

In October 2021, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad was 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 company reported that D’Amato was in charge of digital advertising for the dealership, and that he was authorized to hire freelance advertising and marketing companies to promote the dealership.  The dealership further reported the fictitious billing scheme came to light after an internal review disclosed that the company credit card costs had exceeded budgeted amounts.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad revealed that D’Amato used his position to misappropriate in excess of 1.3 million dollars from the dealership through an elaborate shell company scheme.  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.  D’Amato used his position and authority to charge the dealership corporate credit card for services never rendered by these fictitious shell companies. The investigation revealed that D’Amato took additional steps to conceal his association with the shell companies by utilizing an online payment processing service to bill the dealership credit card.  The online payment processing service subsequently transferred stolen proceeds to accounts controlled by D’Amato to be used for his personal benefit.

On September 19, 2022, D’Amato was arrested by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad, and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad for their diligence in connection with this very thorough and comprehensive investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

R.P.C.  3.6(b)(6).