|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a former troop commander for the New Jersey State Police was sentenced today for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a charitable fund that assists troopers and their families.
Retired Acting Major Michael Mattia, 47, of Cedar Grove, was sentenced to two years of probation by Superior Court Judge Donald J. Volkert Jr. in Passaic County. As a condition of probation, he must pay restitution of $30,000 to the charitable fund, and $19,000 to a trooper from whom he obtained a loan on false pretenses. The judge stipulated that if Mattia fails to pay the restitution, he will face a jail sentence of 364 days. He was ordered to pay $10,000 today and must pay $400 per month, with the balance due at the end of his term of probation. Mattia pleaded guilty on Feb. 11 to third-degree theft by unlawful taking. He is permanently barred from public employment and public office in New Jersey.
Before retiring last year, Mattia supervised troopers in northern New Jersey as commander of Troop B in Totowa. He controlled the Troop B Health & Welfare Fund, a charitable fund that uses proceeds from sales of State Police apparel and other items to pay for scholarships and donations that benefit Troop B personnel and their families. In pleading guilty, Mattia admitted that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from the fund. He repaid part of the funds, but failed to return approximately $30,000.
The state’s investigation revealed that, from August 2011, when he took control of the fund, through his retirement in April 2013, Mattia diverted approximately $55,500 from the bank account of the Troop B Health & Welfare Fund by making debit card withdrawals and writing checks to “cash” that he deposited into his personal bank account or cashed. He returned $8,500 to the fund by personal check in March 2013, and he deposited $17,000 in cash into the fund in May 2013, after being confronted about the fact that there was only $26 in the fund when he retired. The cash came from a $19,000 loan that Mattia obtained from a fellow trooper. Mattia falsely told the trooper that he needed money to pay his mortgage and his children’s tuition. Mattia has not repaid any part of the loan.
When Mattia retired, the individual who took control of the Troop B Health & Welfare Fund discovered the low balance and alerted investigators in the State Police, who referred the matter to the Division of Criminal Justice. Deputy Attorneys General Heather Taylor and Jeffrey Manis took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, which conducted the investigation.