Westchester County Police arrested the former executive director of the Lois Bronz Children’s Center (LBCC) Tuesday, in Greenburgh, and charged her with using the center’s funds to pay for personal expenses.
Sonja Washington, 47, of Brewster surrendered at County Police headquarters in Hawthorne and was charged with Grand Larceny 3rd Degree, a felony.
Washington is accused of stealing $6,592.35 from the Lois Bronz Children’s Center by using a business credit card, paid for and maintained by the center, to make personal charges and purchases without permission to do so.
An investigation by Detective Dwayne Tabacchi of the General Investigations Unit and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office determined that Washington used the center’s credit card to pay for family vacations, her personal electric bill and Comcast cable bill, and activities related to her children’s sports in the Village of Brewster.
Washington was booked at County Police headquarters in Hawthorne after she surrendered to detectives. She was arraigned in Greenburgh Town Court and released on her own recognizance.
A statement released by the LBCC Board endeavored to relive any questions parents might have about the safety of their children during the time the theft took place at the Center. “The LBCC, named after the first woman African American Chair of the Westchester Board of Legislators, has been a bedrock in our community for more than 50 years. Despite recent challenges, the LBCC continues to provide exceptional care to hundreds of children each year.”
The Board continued: “Although the LBCC is independent of the town, and the town does not contribute funds toward its childcare costs, the town does own and maintain the LBCC building on Manhattan Avenue. Therefore, several months ago, the LBCC’s Board of Directors met with our Town Board. At that meeting the Directors briefed the Town Board about alleged financial improprieties and the steps undertaken to rectify the situation. We were told as soon as the Directors suspected funds designated for the children’s center were being misappropriated they contacted the Westchester County Police, which took charge investigating the incident.”
The LBCC Directors, the majority of whom are long-time Greenburgh residents, are dedicated to ensuring that the children’s center is well run, providing children with excellent daycare. The Directors want to reassure parents that at no time was the safety of their children in question. The children’s center has been and will continue to be a safe and welcoming place for parents and guardians to send their children.”