False Claims Alleged In Stage Collapse

Two women who may not have been at the Indiana State Fair the night of a fatal stage collapse have been charged with making false claims in an effort to collect from a victims’ fund, according to Marion County, Ind., prosecutors.

Stephanie Murry and Sandra Hurn of Indianapolis claim to have suffered injuries from the collapse and both attempted to collect payouts from the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund, county prosecutor Terry Curry told the Indianapolis Star.

A spokeswoman for Curry told the paper that investigators do not believe either woman was even at the Aug. 13 Sugarland concert.

The women submitted claims for a total of $22,500 from the funds, according to a release from Curry’s office and reported by the paper. Hurn faces a maximum of 36 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted of felony charges of forgery, perjury, theft and attempted theft. Murry faces 14 years plus fines on felony charges of forgery, perjury and attempted theft.

“It is particularly troubling that individuals would attempt to illegally profit upon a tragedy such as the State Fair stage collapse,” Curry said in a statement. “We have zero tolerance for those who wish to gain at the misfortune of others.”

Hurn collected a $7,500 check from the remembrance fund, according to the release, while Murry’s claim was denied by the State Fair Commission because her alleged injuries did not meet qualifications.

Both women allegedly submitted tort claims and were told by officials of the Indiana attorney general’s office they would receive funds from the $5 million pool set aside for settlements. Authorities arrested Hurn when she went to pick up her claim check. Murry was arrested a short time later.

Neither of the women ultimately received any money from the tort claim fund, said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the Indiana attorney general.

“We will not stand idly by,” Curry said, “while greedy individuals take from those who are truly deserving of compensation from this tragedy.”