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News + Views

School Embezzler Sentenced

By Lisa M. Collins

The emotionally-charged PTA embezzlement case at Cobble Hill’s P.S. 29 is finally over. On Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Brooklyn Supreme Court downtown, former P.S. 29 PTA Treasurer Providence Hogan pleaded guilty to two counts of grand larceny in the third degree and one count of grand larceny in the second degree, and handed over a check for $50,000 to a representative of the PS 29 PTA.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Mondo ordered the Carroll Gardens mom to pay back the remainder of the amount she is accused of stealing, another $32,392.21, plus 5 percent interest, over a two-year period beginning in January.  The judge ordered Hogan to make quarterly payments to Safe Horizons, a non-profit that helps victims of domestic violence. Safe Horizons will accept the checks and then forward the money to the P.S. 29 PTA. A representative from the DA’s office said the office chose Safe Horizons because the DA works often with the organization, and the DA’s office cannot accept the checks, which must go through a third party. Also, Hogan will pay the five percent interest to Safe Horizons as a surcharge for the organization handling the payments.

Judge Mondo warned Hogan to pay on time.

“If you fail, you face two to six years in jail. If you fail to make any payment, I will issue a warrant for your arrest. I will not allow any excuses to be made,” Mongo said.

Hogan will get probation for five years after finishing her payments.

The warning came after Hogan and her attorney had drug their feet since June on paying back the money owed to the PTA under a plea deal arranged by the Brooklyn DA’s office in an effort to allow Hogan to avoid jail time (and with the backing and agreement of the P.S. 29 PTA). Hogan was treasurer during a three-year period, from 2008 to 2010, when she stole the money. Hogan stole more than $100,000, but criminal investigators traced a paper trail to $82,000—the amount she has been asked to repay with interest.

Several parents from the school, who had worked closely with Hogan at bake sales, book sales and other fundraising events over the years, attended the hearing, and several became very emotional at the sentencing.

“Restitution has always been our goal,” said one of the moms after the hearing. “We all want to move on.”

“Forgiveness is something we each deal with differently,” said another.

The judge allowed Hogan to make a statement after the sentencing.

“To friends and family and PTA members who placed their trust in me, I am so sorry,” Hogan said. “What I did was obviously criminal… but also.. morally bereft. I am so sorry.”

“PS 29 has been my daughter’s home for seven years,” she said (Hogan’s daughter continues to attend the school). “I am grateful for your smiles and dedication.”

A month ago, the judge ordered Hogan to come up with the cash or face trial and almost certain jail time, as she had admitted guilt.

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 District Attorney’s office that she had used the money she stole to pay rent on her business and her apartment, 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.

http://www.safehorizon.org/

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Readers' Comments


June
November 1, 2011
8:48 PM

She gives PTAs a bad name. I am uncomfortable helping out my child’s PTA efforts now that I know how easily those members can steal from the kids. She needs to be charged with a felony AND be ordered to pay back the school with 10% interest so that other people do not get the message that it’s ok to steal over $100k from children and then only get a slap on the wrist! It’s pathetic and makes me sick!! No one should go to her spa, instead, steal from her and see how she feels!