Crime & Courts

Mint Hill company officer admits to taking $4 million

A Charlotte man who served as controller and then chief financial officer of a Mint Hill heating and air conditioning company has admitted to stealing about $4 million from his employer, according to federal prosecutors.

Investigators accused Nathan Thomas Mroz, 39, of using the money to build a lavish lifestyle that included buying a $115,000 house for his children’s nanny.

Investigators said Mroz used the money to pay private school tuition for his children and to buy a $20,000 diamond ring and a $20,000 bracelet for his wife. Prosecutors said he also used the money to buy a $55,000 pontoon boat and take vacations to Puerto Rico, Kiawah Island, Disneyland and Europe.

Prosecutors also allege Mroz used the money to purchase a fleet of luxury cars, including a Lexus RX 330, a Corvette, a Mercedes GGL 550, a Mercedes E63, a 1969 Camaro, a $40,000 motorcycle and several other SUVs.

Mroz on Monday pleaded in federal court to mail fraud.

Federal officials say Mroz faces a prison term of up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine. As part of the plea agreement, he was ordered to pay restitution. The amount of the restitution will be set at sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

Mroz was accused of taking the money over a period of about eight years from Andersen Services. During that time, he was making a salary of between $75,000 and $90,000, according to prosecutors.

In paperwork filed in federal court, prosecutors said Mroz had earned an accounting degree at Penn State University and worked for an accounting firm in Charlotte before joining Andersen Services in 2005.

Investigators accused Mroz of creating phony accounts payable invoices and falsifying signatures to create fraudulent payments to himself or to the credit cards he used. Prosecutors said Mroz mailed the checks to credit card companies around the country.

The bogus payments were entered in Andersen Services’ records as legitimate business expenses, according to government prosecutors.