School Employee Accused of Faking Daughter’s Death to Take Caribbean Vacation

By the Associated Press | January 10, 2012 | 8:00 AM EST

Two tourists sit in the sand on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Wednesday Nov. 23, 2011. The Caribbean anticipates another surge in visitors this winter, but officials warn that the amount the average tourist spends probably will decline. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

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 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.

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 2½ 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.