The former accountant for the Triangle Club of Princeton University, the historic touring musical-comedy troupe, pled guilty on March 27 to embezzling $240,000 from the club, according to a prepared statement by Attorney General John J. Hoffman
Thomas John Muza, 56, Hightstown, pled guilty to a charge of second-degree theft by unlawful taking before Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Lydon in Mercer County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Muza be sentenced to three years in state prison. He must pay restitution of $240,000, including $200,000 that he must pay at sentencing, scheduled for September 4.
Muza was the accountant for the independent nonprofit theater troupe from 1993 until May, 2013, when he was dismissed after discrepancies and suspicious expenditures were discovered in the troupe’s financial records. Muza also served for many years as general manager of McCarter Theater. He was removed from that position as a result of the theft investigation.
In pleading guilty, Muza admitted that between January, 2008, and February, 2013, he used his position as accountant for the Triangle Club to steal roughly $240,000. Muza, who was paid an annual salary of $4,000, was a signatory on the club’s bank account. The attorney general said Muza wrote Triangle Club checks directly to himself and cashed them or deposited them into his personal bank account. He used the money primarily to pay his living expenses, including credit card debt, mortgage payments, and utility bills. In addition, Muza wrote Triangle Club checks to make payments on his personal credit cards.
“Instead of exhibiting the loyalty he should have felt for this celebrated musical-comedy troupe after serving as their accountant for 20 years, Muza exploited the trust he had garnered by stealing nearly a quarter of a million dollars,” Hoffman said. “This was a shameless betrayal.”