It’s never advisable to fake your own death under any circumstances, but if you do, it’s very important to take the time and proofread your fraudulent death certificate.
That was the lesson learned by Robert Berger, 25, a Long Island resident who tried to convince authorities he was dead by forging documentation. According to CNN, Berger was charged with fourth-degree possession of stolen property in December 2018 as well as third-degree attempted grand larceny in June 2019. Entering a guilty plea for both, he was expected to be sentenced on October 22, 2019.
But instead of showing up for court, Berger was nowhere to be found. His attorney, Meir Moza, claimed his client had died.
Days later, Moza gave the court a copy of Berger’s “death certificate,” which was provided by Berger’s fiancé. The certificate listed Berger’s cause of death as suffocation as a result of suicide. But officials were suspicious of the fact that the word registry had been misspelled as regsitry three times throughout the document and that different font types had been used.
Prosecutors made an inquiry to the New Jersey Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry to confirm that they did indeed know how to spell registry and concluded that the document was a forgery.
Moza denied any role in the deception and prosecutors with Nassau County did not charge him. Berger, on the other hand, is now a subject of high interest. Curiously, he had been in prison in Pennsylvania since being arrested on other charges for providing a false identity to law enforcement in November 2019. He has since been extradited to Nassau County and now faces four years in prison for the new charge of offering a false instrument for filing, which is a felony.
Berger’s current legal troubles will need the aid of someone other than Moza, who has ended his representation of his un-deceased client.