The 50-year-old woman in Ferrara, in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, was jailed and fined €400 over the scam, L’Unione Sarda reported on Thursday.
She had reportedly been employed on a short-term contract with a local security alarm company in February 2011, in a role that involved finding new clients, but just three months into the job a problem arose.
The woman’s bosses asked her to chase up what they believed to be an unpaid bill of €4,500, which, it later transpired, had been pocketed by herself.
Not wanting to confess to the crime, the woman said she would follow up with the clients the next day, but instead came up with an elaborate plan to throw her employer off track.
“Sorry, my son fell in the swimming pool yesterday evening. He hit his head and was hospitalized in a serious condition in Bologna,” the mother was quoted in the newspaper as telling a colleague the following day.
After failing to go to work for a second day, she sent a text message to her bosses: “My son didn’t make it. He died during the night.”
Staff at the company told her to take all the time that she needed before coming back to work, and received a message from the woman a week later saying she couldn’t wait to return to work “and leave this terrible tragedy behind”.
But suspicions were raised after months passed without a word, prompting company lawyers to investigate the supposed death.
After finding no press reports about the boy’s apparent demise and no record in the civil registry of the death, the woman was arrested and found guilty of embezzlement, L’Unione Sarda said.