School worker faked daughter death

Jan. 9, 2012 at 12:38 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A New York school employee forged a death certificate for her daughter to get a week's vacation to Costa Rica, city investigators said.

A recently released report from Richard Condon, special schools investigator for the city, said Joan Barnett, 58, a parent coordinator at the Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management, had one of her daughters call the school to say her sister had suffered a heart attack in Costa Rica, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

Condon's report said Barnett then had another daughter call to say the heart attack was fatal and the family was traveling to Costa Rica for the funeral. The report said Barnett forged a death certificate for "Xinia Daley Herman" to meet the school system's requirement for bereavement days.

A school official became suspicious of the death certificate because it contained "slightly different fonts which were not aligned properly," Condon's report read.

Costa Rican government officials confirmed the certificate was a fake and investigators determined Barnett had purchased her plane tickets three weeks prior to her trip.

Barnett was fired from the school and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor forgery.

The Daily News said Barnett could not be reached for comment and her lawyer declined to comment.

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