Man gets caught after using fake death certificate to avoid jail term

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 22, 2020, 05.49 PM(IST)

Representative image. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The real New Jersey Department of Health, Vital Statistics and Registry confirmed that Berger’s death certificate was fake, prosecutors said.

A criminal from Long Island tried avoiding jail by faking his death but was caught as his death certificate submitted by his lawyers had a spelling error. 

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Robert Berger, who comes from New York's Huntington, will face an extra four years in prison if convicted of conspiring the fake death certificate scheme to avoid punishments. Berger is already charged with possession of a stolen Lexus and attempted grand larceny of a truck. 

The criminal pleaded not guilty to a single count of offering a false instrument for filing. Despite judge setting the bail at $1, Berger was ordered to jail because of his underlying cases. 

The 25-year-old was scheduled to be sentenced to jail last October due to theft-related charges, however, Berger fled the state while taking steps to convince his then-lawyer, prosecutors and the judge that he had killed himself - including allegedly using his fiance to pass along a false death certificate, prosecutors said.

Berger's lawyer who submitted the fake death certificate has said that he was used as a pawn. A comment from the public defender who took over the case is awaited. Berger's next hearing is scheduled to be held on July 29. 

The certificate, at first glance, looks a replica of an official document issued by the New Jersey Department of Health, Vital Statistics and Registry. But a spelling error in the document raised suspicion. The registry was spelt as "Regsitry", prosecutors said. They added that there were also inconsistencies in the font type and size. 

The real New Jersey Department of Health, Vital Statistics and Registry confirmed that Berger’s death certificate was fake, prosecutors said.

Berger is alive and had been arrested in suburban Philadelphia on charges including allegations he provided a false identity to law enforcement and stole from a Catholic college.