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New PS 29 Mom-strocity! Thieving PTA treasurer may face no jail — and parents are angry

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The former PTA treasurer accused of swiping nearly $100,000 from a Cobble Hill public school won’t face any jail time if she returns every dollar — and parents at the school feel like they’ve been victimized again.

Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes presented the prison-free sweetheart deal to Providence Hogan — who allegedly stole funds set aside for trips and after-school programs — during a brief court appearance on Monday.

“The deal was for full restitution and probation,” Hynes’s spokesman Jerry Schmetterer explained. “If she doesn’t accept the plea and goes to trial, she could get two to six years.”

But on Tuesday at the Henry Street school, parents were quick to blast Hynes’s use of the “Get out of Jail” card.

“It’s not fair because she stole, regardless of whether or not she returns it,” said Mitciacima Morisset, whose two daughters attend the school. “It’s not fair to us, the parents that contributed to the PTA.”

Not every parent was interested in setting up a lynching party — but the vast majority of those interviewed said that there are plenty of punishments that fit the alleged crime.

“At the minimum, she should do some community service along the lines of 4,000 hours or for a couple years rather than get a free pass,” said Tom Fuco, who has a son and daughter at the school.

Others backed hard time.

“She should serve in jail for what she did,” said school parent Clyde Babson. “Just like if you steal money from the bank, you need to serve time.”

As treasurer, Hogan had access to the PTA’s checkbook between May, 2008, and September, 2010. During that time, she cut checks to herself ranging from $6,000 to $52,000, prosecutors say.

On the withdrawal slips, Hogan, who owns the Providence Day Spa on Atlantic Avenue, claimed that the pilfered cash was being spent on class trips to the Brooklyn–Queens Conservatory of Music and Club Getaway.

But investigators say that she spent the funds on fertility treatments and the rent on both her home and her business between Smith and Hoyt streets.

Hogan admitted to stealing from the PTA in February after the group discovered a disparity on its tax returns. Hogan admitted stealing the $100,000, but prosecutors said only that she took slightly more than $82,000 — the amount Hogan will have to pay if she takes Hynes up on his offer.

Hogan’s attorney Stephen Flamhaft said his client was seriously considering the deal.

“We are working towards a resolution of the case,” Flamhaft told reporters following Monday’s court appearance.

An attorney representing the PTA said that the group was happy to learn it may get its money back, but declined to comment on the plea deal.

“We have no formal position [on Hogan being sentenced to jail] at this time,” said Maryana Zubok of Goodwin Procter, where a PS 29 parent is an attorney.

Hogan’s 9-year-old daughter still attends the school between Kane and Baltic streets, but the 43-year-old business owner has been barred from being a part of the PTA or any other school parent advisory group, said Department of Education spokesman Marge Feinberg said.

PS 29’s PTA collected more than $490,000 in donations, association dues and fundraiser revenues during the 2008 school year — the same year Hogan began pulling money from the group’s account.

More than $300,000 of that money was used to pay for after-school programs, skate nights and fourth and fifth grade trips, tax records show.

If Hogan accepts the plea deal, PS 29 parents could get the money as early as September.

It’s not the first time this month that an admitted criminal has done damage to PS 29, yet appeared to have used money to get away with it. After last Sunday’s vandalism of the school’s new playground, the guilt-stricken parents of the teens responsible for the crime ponied up $50,000 to replace the melted play equipment.

Given the context parents were eager to share their outrage.

“She stole, literally, so she should do jail time or something like community service,” said Jim Dillard, whose son attends the school. “There have to be consequences for what she did. We have to teach the kids that there are consequenc­es.”

Updated 1:15 pm, May 17, 2011: Includes a lot more outrage
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Reader Feedback

Cynthia from Clinton hill says:
I doubt she has all that money to pay back. She needs to be in prison.
May 17, 2011, 2:37 am
joe from bay ridge says:
Since she used some of the money to pay rent on her business she should have to fork over profits from her business from that timespan. Otherwise she has basically gotten an interest free loan. I would prefer to see her in jail. She stole money from kids. Money probably raised by those kids. Pretty slimy person. Last time I passed the business i was still open!
May 17, 2011, 7:09 am
brooklynbreeder from Park Slope says:
Uh, when is Charles Hynes going to be retired? It's past time.
May 17, 2011, 9:04 am
Charles from Cobble Hill says:
Full restitution is not enough. There is a loss in economic value by not having these funds available for school projects and trips.
This interest-free loan helped keep her business afloat and a roof over her head.
Where are the consequences?? If no jail time then at the very least a multiple of 2x - 3x the ESTIMATED amount of $100k (which is probably more anyway)!!
May 17, 2011, 11:16 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
If she was paying rent on thing, that money's gone, and the DA knows it. She'll never be able to meet the conditions, but the DA will still come off as offering a fair chance before coming down hard on this criminal.
May 17, 2011, 1:15 pm
concernedcitizen from park slope says:
Nothing to prevent her from embezzling from somewhere else to pay it back.

If the only punishment an embezzler gets is having to pay the money back that is no kind of deterrent; in fact it would give embezzlers encouragement.
May 17, 2011, 1:25 pm
k from Slope says:
No doubt what she did was wrong and immoral. But we needlessly send people to prison--which actually has great costs to us as taxpayers. There's feeding, housing, & guarding the prisoner as direct costs and then the indirect cost associated with the child left behind.

I say this not just in the case of this mom from this neighborhood, but on behalf of all convicted persons. If they are physically dangerous, lock 'em up. If not, community service, restitution, etc.
May 17, 2011, 2:40 pm
Lou from Cobble Hill says:
Sadly, this arranged plea by Ms. Hogan's high-powered counsel will likely not result in the school recouping its desperately needed stolen funds. The DA's office has been commendable in their prosecution of the case, but it is ill-equipped to ensure that she actually pays back the money. Once the plea is taken, their role is largely finished, and without the threat of more serious penalties over her head, Ms. Hogan's motivation to pay it back drops dramatically as well. This was not a petty theft: she was indicted and formally charged with various felonies after stealing at least $82,000.00 from the PS 29 PTA over several years. These serious and repeated thefts from our children's elementary school have understandably outraged the parents and teachers who volunteer countless hours and donate whatever they can to fund programs which benefit the school's and community's children. Before this plea is entered on June 27th, anyone outraged by this proposed probationary slap-on-the-wrist should contact by calls and letters the assigned judge, Hon. Suzanne M. Mondo, Kings County Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, (347) 404-9470, or the assigned Brooklyn assistant district attorney, ADA Kevin James, (718) 250-2733, to let them know that the money should be paid back and escrowed first, by whatever means possible, before she is given her sweetheart deal.
May 17, 2011, 4:14 pm
Eliza from Brooklyn Heights says:
This is so crazy to let this arrogant woman off like this!

She should have to pay back with interest, since she used the money to keep her business afloat. Plus more than just paying back is needed here.
How will she pay it back if she's so broke? Wonder who's going to front her the $?
May 17, 2011, 10:55 pm
cat from WT says:
I wish you all would go after the $22,000 stole by a Bloomberg Admin staffer who faked time sheets, didn't have to pay it back when she said she couldn't even pay a $7,500 fine (the most that was going to levied against her), and KEPT her job (although was demoted)??? May 2011: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/nyregion/assistant-aging-dept-commissioner-demoted-for-faking-time-sheets.html?_r=1

Jail time wasn't even discussed! I agree this was wrong but there shouldn't be such discrepancy on how these cases are handled. Stealing from the city is the same - esp if you are an employee - as stealing from the PTA, if not worse!

I think there should be some fine or restitution for Providence Day Spa owner or penalty but this stalking of her is sort of unfair - in light of others who get away with this or worse in other situations.

I understand parents are upset because they feel duped - okay - but clearly she got herself in a bad situation.

Nonetheless, how did this Bloomberg staffer get away without paying anything back, was not fired, fined, or anything - other than having to sign in more closely when she continues to come to work???
Aug. 22, 2011, 7:39 am
Cassie from Brownsville says:
An update til this day mrs Hogan did not get out of jail free card. No she is paying for it still going to court. I was at her latest trial and the lawyer gut her open. Both lawyers! So if you think she's sitting back relaxed she isn't. She in fact did spend time at rulers island
Nov. 6, 2015, 7 am

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