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POLICE CLAIM TEACHER USED FORGED CREDENTIALS

A high school science teacher accused of having a faked teaching certificate has turned himself over to police to face forgery charges.

Ralph J. Falco Jr. was fired Wednesday from his job with the Amsterdam School District, 29 miles northwest of Albany. Friday, police charged Falco, 39, with offering a false instrument for filing after Falco's colleagues tipped off investigators that the certificate may be forged.

"I think this is one of those cases where they hired him and checked a lot of references and he looked legitimate," Detective Sgt. Thomas DiMezza told the Daily Gazette of Schenectady.

Gerard DeCusatis, Falco's lawyer, said his client had received nothing but positive evaluations for his work.

The state requires teachers in public schools to have certification of their teacher training, but police said that the state never issued a certificate to Falco.

Falco began with the district as a part-time science teacher and substitute teacher before being hired full time last year.

"If the guy gives you a certificate, you're not going to call everybody to see if it's authentic," said Emanuel Rosen, a school board member.

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