NYC school worker faked kid's death to travel

A couple enjoy the beach at sunset Nov. 21, 2010, at Puntarenas beach in Costa Rica.
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NEW YORK - Usually it's the students who make excuses to get out of school. A parent coordinator at a New York City school concocted a complex hoax to get out of work, CBS station WCBS-TV reports.

Joan Barnett had one of her daughters call the Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management to say that her sister had suffered a heart attack in Costa Rica. Later in the day, she called to tell the school that the sister had died and that the family would be traveling to the island 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 daughter's 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.