News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
October 31, 2014
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News + Views

PS 29 Embezzlement Case

By Lisa M. Collins

The tables seem to have turned on Providence Hogan, the local mom accused of stealing $82,000 from the PTA at Cobble Hill’s PS 29 from 2008 to 2010, while she was treasurer, and falsifying documents to cover up the crime.

This summer, it appeared as if Hogan would avoid jail time.

Monday, a judge threatened to send Hogan’s case to trial if she doesn’t come up with a $40,000 down payment on what she owes by Nov. 1. If the case goes to trial, Hogan likely will face jail time.

Hogan cried outside of the Brooklyn Supreme Court room on Monday. 
She said she was sorry but that she did not have the money, did not have a way to make the money, and wanted to go to jail for a long time to pay for what she had done.

“I have nothing to live for,” Hogan said. “This ordeal has been jail.”

To the parents at PS 29, Hogan said, “I am sorry. I love the school.”

Moments earlier the judge said that after many delays, she would set a trial date on Nov. 1 if Hogan doesn’t come up with the cash. Hogan owns the Providence Day Spa on Atlantic Ave, near Hoyt, which provides holistic massages and services. Hogan is a birth doula and performs pre-natal massage. She told the DA she had used the money she stole to pay bills and for fertility treatments.

The District Attorney’s office had offered a plea deal in May, in which Hogan would pay $40,000 now, and $42,000 within a year, to avoid jail.

Monday, Hogan’s attorney told the judge she had come up with $30,000, and needed four years to make $3,000 quarterly payments on the rest of the debt, beginning in January. The district attorney argued against the deal, and the judge rejected it, saying it was “unacceptable.”

“Either she pays the restitution or she goes to trial,” said Judge Suzanne Mondo. “Thirty thousand is a good start. A payoff plan of four years is unreasonable.”

Mondo said she believed Hogan could make the payments, and that the school is a victim that must be “made whole,” “now.”

To make matters worse, Hogan’s attorney Monday requested (for the second time) to be removed from the case, claiming he has not been paid.

Hogan sat down outside the courtroom to give a lengthy, tearful interview to The New York Times after the hearing. She took a moment to speak to South Brooklyn Post.

“I’m going to trial,” Hogan said. “If I need to go to jail, I might as well go for as long as possible… “

Hogan was in the depths of despair. She said she had lost three children and had a rough, even abusive childhood.

She said her case, “is about humiliating me and putting me on the front page in the press, and making me an example.”

“There’s no fixing this,” she said.

Stephen Flamhaft, Hogan’s attorney, said he does not think Hogan should go to trial, as she has already admitted guilt. He said there was a “fair” chance she would face jail time.

In court, Judge Mondo said that in addition to the $82,000 Hogan owes PS 29, she owes $44,000 in New York state taxes, and $32,000 to her landlord.

“The defendant continues to maintain her same standard of living,” said District Attorney Kevin James.

Reporters outside the court discussed the case. One pointed out that if Hogan goes to trial, nobody wins. She’ll likely declare bankruptcy, and the school won’t get repaid.

Hogan reiterated this.

“If the school thinks they’ll get their money, they’re wrong. I’ll have no way to make money. They’ll take my license away. I have no health insurance, and I have health problems.

“I tried. A lot of people tried to help me.”

About a dozen parents from the school showed up in support of the school and the DA. A spokesperson for the PTA said the school supports the DA’s position that the money should be paid within the year.

 

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