A former co-president of the PTA at an Upper East Side elementary school was sentenced to 2 1/2 to five years in prison after pleading guilty to swiping over $185,000 from the organization.
Prosecutors said Mark Haynes, 37, a parent of an elementary school student at PS 267 on E. 63rd Street made 17 withdrawals from the school PTA fund ranging from $2,389 to $32,000 and totaling $185,717 from October 2020 to July 2021 to pay his J. P. Morgan Chase credit card bills for charges at luxury hotels in St. Lucia and Bermuda and purchases at Fendi, Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. He also used $23,000 to pay court ordered restitution in a previous theft.
“Marc Haynes stole thousands of dollars from the PTA Account of a local public school, money that should have been used to expand education opportunities for the children of PS 267 and used it instead for personal enrichment,” said special commissioner for the New York City School District Anastasia Coleman. “Such theft from our city’s school children should never go unanswered and we thank D.A. [Alvin] Bragg and his team for vigorously pursuing prosecution and restitution in this matter.”
His original plea of second degree grand larceny was downgraded to third degree grand larceny after he paid back $83,000 of the pilfered funds by the time of sentencing on April 18. In addition to the prison sentence, the court said he must make restitution of the remaining $102,000 to the PTA of PS 267.
It’s not the first time he has been involved in white collar theft. In July 2016, Haynes was convicted of second degree grand larceny for stealing from his former employer, which prosecutors only identified as a “publishing company.” In that case, he avoided a prison sentence and received five years probation and was ordered to make restitution of $51,247. He used some of the stolen PTA funds to make two court-ordered restitution payments, prosecutors said, which he charged to his J. P. Morgan Chase credit card totaling $23,838.
An attorney for Haynes could not be reached by press time. A previous attorney listed by the DA’s office said he was no longer representing Haynes.
The fraud began to unravel when a new PTA treasurer noticed a suspicious $9,081 charge in one of the PTA accounts for which there was no supporting documentation. Haynes, who by then had advanced from his earlier role as co-treasurer to become co-president of the PTA claimed the transaction was to reimburse another PTA member’s credit card for an “urgent furniture purchase.” After being unable to verify that, the co-treasurers emailed Haynes and several PTA members requesting supporting documentation. Prosecutors said that instead of supplying supporting documentation, Haynes emailed his resignation as co-president intead.
The case was prosecuted by the financial frauds bureau of the DAs office headed by Ryan Gee and with former assistant DA Jessica Olive.
“If you believe your organization or company has been a victim of this type of scheme, call us at 212-335-8900,” DA Alvin Bragg said in a statement.