A former employee at New Jersey’s Pine Belt Nissan has been charged with money laundering and theft after allegedly stealing $1.3 million in cash the dealership had intended for digital advertising through a scheme involving shell companies.
According to a report, prosecutors say that the employee’s scheme was built around siphoning money out of the company’s advertising budget that he controlled through false billing. He allegedly ran the money through LLCs he controlled posing as legitimate digital advertising companies, charging a corporate credit card through a payment processing service to hide his involvement with the shell companies. That would have allowed him to funnel that money directly back to himself, theoretically creating an efficient loop to pocket his allocated portion of the company’s budget in just a few steps.
Law enforcement was contacted in October 2021, at which point the alleged fraudster was already listed as a former employee. He was arrested and charged earlier this week, ending a nearly year-long process.
In total, the scheme netted $1.3 million. As that cash was initially intended for digital advertising, the number presumably represents years of misappropriated budgets. That represents quite a few banner ads for lease deals on Altimas and Titans that never saw the light of day.