Looting the PTA at PS 29 was practically child’s play.
Authorities investigating the former Cobble Hill parent group treasurer accused of stealing $100,000 said on Wednesday that Providence Hogan used special school events as cover when she cut several big checks to herself — using the money to pay the rent on her apartment, her Atlantic Avenue spa business and fertility treatments.
DA Charles Hynes’s criminal indictment claims that Hogan, who owns the Providence Day Spa between Smith and Hoyt streets, made three major withdrawals from the Henry Street school’s PTA bank account between May 25, 2008 and Sept. 13, 2010 that ranged from more than $52,000 to $6,000.
Each time, the memo line on the withdrawal slip indicated that the pilfered cash would be spent on student activities such as trips to the Brooklyn–Queens Conservatory of Music and Club Getaway as well as charter bus rentals needed for these excursions.
Sources from Hynes’s office said that Hogan didn’t make the events up, but used them as an excuse to withdraw the funds, which she ultimately pocketed.
Hogan is facing 15 years in prison for siphoning more than $82,000 from the Cobble Hill school’s PTA coffers.
She surrendered at the 76th Precinct stationhouse on Wednesday morning and was released on $15,000 bail.
Prosecutors had asked for $100,000 bail — the same amount Hogan admitted to stealing from the PTA in February after the group discovered a gap its tax returns.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin James claimed Hogan stole the money out of desperation: when she took the funds, her business was struggling and her husband had just been fired.
But taking the money made her a neighborhood pariah — and thus a potential flight risk, he noted.
“[Hogan] has no significant connections to her community,” James said. “Her husband is unemployed, her business is failing and whatever community ties she had, she cut them with her actions.”
But defense attorney Andrew Rendeiro refuted James’s claims: Hogan’s husband Jack is a respected member of Brooklyn Heights’ Jewish community and volunteers at Congregation B’Nai Avraham on Remsen Street.
That temple’s leader, Rabbi Aaron Raskin was in court to show support. He was joined by Rabbi Samuel Weintraub from the Kane Street Synagogue.
The former PTA treasurer has also received more than a dozen letters and e-mails of love and encouragement since her arrest, Rendeiro said.
“These are not religious leaders or politicians, they’re from real residents who know and support her,” he explained.