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School Employee Fakes Daughter’s Death For Vacation Time

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Kids are the best excuse for getting out of things, but I have yet to use the whole, “Sorry, my child is sick” line for fear that it’ll come true. Maybe that’s taking it to the extreme but on the other end of the spectrum is Joan Barnett, a New York school employee who faked her daughter’s death so she could vacation in Costa Rica.

Does this woman have no soul?! According to the NY Daily News, Barnett – a parent coordinator at the Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management – told her boss her daughter had died so that she could spend an extra week in Costa Rica during spring break 2010.

Barnett, 58, reportedly had one of her daughters call the school to say that her sister had suffered a heart attack in Costa Rica. Later that day, she had another daughter call the school to say that the sister had died and that the funeral would be taking place in Costa Rica. As proof of death, Barnett faxed the school a forged death certificate.

Barnett then went on to enjoy two and a half weeks in Costa Rica – presumably guilt-free. But when she returned to work, a school official began questioning the authenticity of the death certificate because it contained different fonts that were improperly aligned. Government officials in Costa Rica later confirmed that it was a fake. (It didn’t help matters that Barnett had booked the tickets for her vacation more than three weeks before her daughter’s supposed death.)

Needless to say, it’s mind-boggling that this woman devised such a despicable plan in the first place. Even more disturbing is the fact the she got her daughters involved in the drama and lies. I mean, really. It’s one thing to arrive to work late on morning and claim your child had a fever (even that is questionable to some). It’s another thing entirely to fake your child’s death and get the whole family involved. It’s beyond disturbing!

The story actually reminds me of one we covered last month about Scott Bennett, a Pennsylvania man who faked his mother’s death for paid time off from work. He even wrote up an obituary and had it published in the local newspaper; buddy got caught when his mom showed up at at the paper’s office saying she was indeed alive and well.

What is with these people?

Barnett ultimately lost her job, which paid $37,000 a year. And when the case went to court this past fall, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor over the forged death certificate. Talk about learning a lesson the hard way!

(Photo: iStockphoto)