Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two Women Charged For Filing False Claims In State Fair Stage Collapse

Two Indianapolis women who didn't even attend the Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair this summer when the grandstand stage tragically collapsed, killing several concert-goers and injuring dozens of others, filed false claims with the state and a victim's fund seeking compensation for injuries they never sustained. Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry announced that the two women are now facing charges for forgery, perjury, theft and attempted theft. WTHR reports on the two women's scheme to defraud the state and the victim's fund:

Prosecutor Terry Curry says Stephanie Murry and Sandra Hurn submitted claims to the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund (ISFRF) and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund, which is administered by the Indiana Attorney General's Office. Authorities say the women each submitted claims totaling $22,500.
According to the prosecutor, the women claimed they were injured in the Aug. 13 stage collapse. The prosecutor's office alleges that the women falsified hospital records in order to be eligible to make claims to both funds.
"The state police determined pretty that the medical records submitted were falsified," said Curry.
In fact, Curry said, neither Hurn nor Murry even attended the concert.
"It would certainly appear from the investigation that neither woman was actually at the State Fair," Curry told Eyewitness News. "Sandra Hurn stated who she went with and that she was there for a couple of the Sugarland songs which obviously Sugarland never performed that night." . . .
Curry says Hurn collected $7,500 from the ISFRF, but Murry's claim was denied because her alleged injuries did not meet qualifications to receive ISFRF funds.
Both women also submitted a notice of tort claim to the Indiana attorney general's office, and both were notified they would receive money from the fund. But Hurn was arrested when she went to pick up a claim check, and Murry was arrested a short time after that.
"It's beyond troubling in a situation which was clearly a tragedy, people were legitimately injured even killed, that there are people out there that in turn exploit it for their own gain," said Curry . . .
Stephanie Murry has been charged with one count of forgery (class C felony), one count of perjury (class D felony), and one count of attempt theft (class D felony).
Sandra Hurn has been charged with three counts of forgery (class C felony), two counts of perjury (class D felony), one count of theft (class D felony), and one count of attempt theft (class D felony).
The maximum penalty both women could face for a class C felony is eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
It's refreshing to see that the Marion Co. Prosecutor's office takes the crime of forgery seriously. I'm defending several lawsuits filed by an Indianapolis business, which is a serial litigator against its former employees and seems to have a propensity to forge contracts it attaches to its lawsuits against its former employees. At least one Marion Co. judge says you can't sue the employer for forgery as long as the employer withdraws the forged document after you catch them trying to use it in litigation. I'm assuming Terry Curry rightfully didn't give these two women the option of withdrawing their claims and declaring "no harm, no foul." It can be a very strange legal system in this county depending on who's calling the shots.

1 comment:

Paul K. Ogden said...

I represented a property owner once who had lost two of his properties as a result of forged quitclaim deeds. The guy then sold them to a third party.

The guy who did the forgery admitted doing it...he justified his forgery on the basis that the properties weren't being properly maintained. We turned the forgeries into Brizzi's office and his office wouldn't prosecute. Said it was a civil matter.

That also reminds me of serial squatters who would sign land contracts live there for 3-4 months without paying on the contract until they could get evicted. Then they would move someplace else and do it again. They had victimized about 25 homeowners with the scam. Brizzi's office refused to prosecute...said they hadn't broken any criminal laws, which is total BS. I found three criminal statutes that applied.