Truant Officer Busted Playing Hooky, Faking Reports

Former ACS worker accused of forging documents.

By Jim Scott and Priscilla Ilarraza
|  Thursday, May 28, 2009  |  Updated 11:10 AM EDT
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Former ACS worker Stephanie Sabouni apparently had plenty of free time to hit the beach. She's accused of filing fictitious reports detailing visits with needy children that never took place.

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Instead of tracking down truant school kids, a former child-care worker was playing hooky herself, authorities said.

Stephanie Sabouni, 27, was charged Wednesday with pretending to make home visits to truants and filing fictional computer entries to cover up her alleged lies, according to the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

"Covering up misdeeds by faking official computer records is a serious crime and this case is even more troubling because it involves allegations that children in need were ignored," Cuomo said.

Sabouni, of Brooklyn, failed to make required home visits from 2005 to 2007 when she worked in the educational neglect unit of the city's Administration for Children's Services, Cuomo said.
              
She's been charged with 14 felony counts, including tampering with public records and offering a false instrument for filing.

The alleged crimes came to light when relatives of children Sabouni claimed to have visited told ACS that they had never met her, according to the city's Department of Investigation. She was supposed to visit truant kids within 48 hours of being assigned their cases, said DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

Sabouni was hired by the city after attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice and earned a master's degree in education from Touro College in Manhattan. She denied the allegations as she was being led away in handcuffs by police.
              
"ACS is at fault for everything, I'm just being used," Sabouni told reporters.

Sabouni was planning to get married on June 27 and spending her honeymoon in Mexico, the New York Daily News reported.

"She is upset," her lawyer Arnold Keith told The News. "She's destroyed over these allegations."

Sabouni's Mexican honeymoon was put in jeopardy after she posted $1,500 bail and handed her passport over to authorities.              

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