The former PS 29 PTA treasurer who stole more than $80,000 from school parents failed to make her first court-mandated reimbursement payment on Thursday — and prosecutors moved to toss out the controversial restitution deal that kept her out of jail in the first place.
Hogan was supposed to pony up $40,000 of the $82,000 she took from the PTA — the first payment in a deal that keeps her out of jail. But when she failed to produce the cash, Assistant District Attorney Kevin James asked Judge Suzanne Mondo to restart the criminal trial that could lead to significant jail time.
“The people have had enough,” James said. “[Hogan] was supposed to come up with the money today, but she’s failed to do so.”
Hogan was arrested in March for siphoning funds from the Henry Street school’s PTA treasury between May, 2008 and September, 2010.
As treasurer, she had unfettered access to the PTA’s checkbook and has admitted that she cut checks to herself ranging from $6,000 to $52,000, spending the funds on fertility treatments and the rent on both her home and Providence Day Spa, her Atlantic Avenue business.
DA Charles Hynes opted not to go to trial, offering Hogan a sweetheart deal instead: pay back everything and avoid jail.
Yet Hogan showed up in court empty-handed. She faces up to six years in prison if convicted in the increasingly inevitable trial.
Hogan claimed that she had raised a significant portion of the $40,000, but blamed the NYPD for her failure to come up with the rest. During their investigation, cops seized her computer — which contains the contact information for clients who owe her money, she said — and have not given it back.
“We’ve always been willing to make restitution, but my client needs those records,” said her lawyer, Stephen Flamhaft.
Mondo ordered the police to return Hogan’s computer, but wasn’t moved by the PTA mom’s excuses.
“You’re portraying her as someone who is incapable right now of raising the money to make the school whole,” Mondo told Flamhaft. “I don’t believe for a minute that she has no funds.”
Flamhaft certainly does, telling the judge that if the case does go to trial, he would have to recuse himself because Hogan would not be able to pay his legal fees.
Outside court, Flamhaft told reporters that Hogan was prepared to go to jail.
“She’s admitted her guilt and she knows that if she goes to trial, she could go to jail,” he said. “I’m going to have to talk some sense into her.”
Hogan didn’t speak at the hearing and refused to speak to reporters. Nor did she make eye contact with the dozen PS 29 PTA moms in the gallery.
PS 29 parents were outraged that Hogan hadn’t made good on her promise to return the money she pilfered.
“We had hoped that she would give us the money back and make the school whole,” said PTA co-president Jane Heaphy. “Now that she’s failed to do that, we’re standing behind the prosecutor in this case.”
Mondo ordered Hogan to return on Oct. 3. If Hogan doesn’t make restitution by then, a trial date will be set, she said.
Should Providence Hogan go to jail?
©2011 Community News Group
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