NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Usually it’s the students who make excuses to get out of school. Joan Barnett, a parent coordinator at the Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management, concocted a complex hoax to get out of work.
Barnett had one of her daughters call to inform the school that her sister, Barnett’s other daughter, had suffered a heart attack in Costa Rica. Later in the day she called to tell the school that her daughter had died and that the family would be traveling to Costa Rica for the funeral.
Barnett then faxed a forged death certificate to the school to ensure that she would qualify for bereavement time off.
The elaborate scam allowed Barnett to enjoy two and-a-half weeks off in Costa Rica in March 2010.
But suspicion arose when a school official noticed inconsistencies in the font used on the death certificate. Working with Costa Rican officials, investigators determined that the death certificate actually belonged to a man who had died in 2005.
The school then found out that Barnett had booked her flight to Costa Rica three weeks before her daughters supposed death.
When confronted with the forgery evidence, Barnett insisted the death certificate was real and that her daughter “died of a heart condition,” according to the Daily News.
As a result of the scheme Barnett was fired, she also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for forging the death certificate.
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