EDUCATION
01/11/2012 11:46 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2012

Mona Lisa Tello, New York Teacher, Accused Of Faking Jury Letter To Skip School (VIDEO)

Mona Lisa Tello, a 61-year-old former teacher at a Manhattan graphic arts public school, has been accused of faking a jury summons in order to get paid for absences over the course of several months, WNYW TV reports.

According to the station, investigators say Tello submitted the letter to school officials, saying it was issued by the Superior Court of New Jersey.

The report states the investigation started when the principal suspected something wasn't right, and tallied the days Tello claims she missed for jury duty:

"In the investigation, it was determined that Tello had told the payroll department that absences on Sept. 16, 2010, Oct. 19,2010, Nov. 30,2010, Dec. 7 and 8, 2010, Jan. 21, 2011, Feb. 10 and 11, 2011, May 4, 11, 17, 18, 26, 27 and 31, 2011 were all due to jury duty."

The cause of the suspicion? According to the New York Post, the "court summons" misspelled "trial" as "trail," "cited" as "sited," and "manager" as "manger."

Tello was arrested after the principal called the court and found out the actual letter was a deferral of jury duty, and she was charged with forgery in the second degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

CBS New York reports Tello denied the accusations when confronted by a reporter.

“No, not true," she told the station. "My handwriting is not on anything."

Nevertheless, the station reports she signed an agreement that mandates she pay a fine and resign her from her position without losing her pension.

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