A Hightstown man has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from the Princeton Triangle Club where he worked as an accountant, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Monday.
Thomas Muza, 55, was charged with theft by unlawful taking, a second degree crime. Muza surrendered to detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice on Nov. 27 and he was processed on the charge and released.
Muza was the accountant of The Princeton Triangle Club, a non-profit touring musical-comedy troupe at Princeton University, from 1993 until Nov. 19 when he was terminated as a result of the theft investigation, according to Hoffman. Muza was also fired from the McCarter Theater on the same day as result of the investigation; he worked at the non-profit theater as a general manager.
According to Hoffman, Muza was paid $4,000 annually as the accountant of the Triangle Club and was a signatory on the club’s bank account. The criminal investigation revealed that Muza purportedly stole over $100,000 since the beginning of 2010 by writing Triangle Club checks directly to himself and then depositing those check into his personal bank account. Additionally, police said that there was at least one occasion when Muza wrote a Triangle Club check for $30,000 directly to his credit card company to pay off his personal debt. The Division of Criminal Justice is further looking into the alleged thefts and they said they believe Muza began stealing well before 2010.
The alleged thefts were uncovered by the law firm that serves the Triangle Club and they alerted the Division of Criminal Justice about the matter for additional investigation and criminal prosecution, Hoffman said. The Princeton University Police also aided in the investigation.
“The members and trustees of the Triangle Club trusted Muza as a prominent, longstanding member of Princeton’s theater community, but he corruptly betrayed their trust,” Hoffman said. “When his personal finances got tight, Muza allegedly treated the club’s bank account like it was his own, stealing huge sums. We are continuing to investigate the extent of his alleged thefts.”
Muza faces five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000 for the second degree theft charge. This charge has yet to be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.
Anyone with information on the alleged thefts may contact Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig confidentially at 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.