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NYC School Employee Faked Daughter's Death to Go on Costa Rican Vacation

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York City school employee has lost her job over accusations she faked her daughter's death so she could take a Caribbean vacation.

The New York Daily News says a school official became suspicious of the forged death certificate. A special investigator's report says it had different fonts that weren't aligned properly. Here's how the Daily News describes what happened:

  • Had one of her daughters call the school to say that her sister had suffered a heart attack in Costa Rica.
  • Had another daughter call the school later that day to say that the sister had died and that about a dozen relatives, including Barnett, were traveling to the country for a funeral.
  • Faxed a forged death certificate of her daughter “Xinia Daley Herman” to school as proof of the death. The document is required if a city school employee asks for bereavement days.

According to court records, Joan Barnett pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in the case this fall. She was also fired from her job as a parent coordinator at the Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management.

She allegedly told school officials her daughter died in Costa Rica so she could spend 2 1/2 weeks there in March 2010.

A Costa Rican government official later confirmed the document was a fake, noting it dated from 2005.

Barnett's lawyer declined to comment.

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