Some are calling it the mother of all scams. An employee at The Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management faked her own daughter's death just to get a two week vacation in Costa Rica.

"Wow, that's incredible," Ursula Medina, a parent at the school said. "She cheated the system. She faked her own daughter's death."

Joan Barnett, a parent coordinator, allegedly even forged a death certificate to get bereavement days for the fake funeral in Costa Rica. However her boss, the school's principal, got suspicious when the fonts didn't match and called in the special schools investigator, Richard Condon.

"We looked at airline records. Although the death certificate said March 20th, 2010, she had booked the flight in early March so it was obvious she was going to Costa Rica for vacation," Condon said.

"I am shocked that a city worker, a Dept of Education employee would fake a death, " said Eileen DiFabio, an implementer in the city's DOE. "Pretty hideous."

Following the investigation, Barnett was fired from her $37,000 a year job. She also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor forgery charge.

And the special schools investigator hopes her fate sends a powerful message to other would-be con artists.