Indianapolis Woman Pleads Guilty to Fraudulent Indiana State Fair Claims
Stephanie Murry of Indianapolis, Indiana has pleaded guilty to forgery and perjury charges after fraudulently filing a claim with the State Fair Remembrance Fund and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund. The monetary relief aids were in place for victims of last year's tragic Indiana State Fair stage collapse, which claimed seven lives just before a Sugarland concert was scheduled to take place. Murry did not attend the show, but still tried to collect money. She is also accused of falsifying hospital records about her 'injuries.'
As we reported in December, Murry -- along with her aunt, Sandra Hurn -- attempted to collect a total of $22,500 from the available funds. Murry did not meet the requirements and was not awarded any monetary damages, but was apprehended after authorities baited the two thieves with checks. Hurn -- who actually claimed to be an injured 11-year-old girl -- did initially collect $7,500.
"It is particularly troubling that individuals would attempt to illegally profit upon a tragedy such as the State Fair stage collapse. We have zero tolerance for those who wish to gain at the misfortune of others," Marion County Prosecutor, Terry Curry, said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by while greedy individuals take from those who are truly deserving of compensation from this tragedy."
Though Murry potential faced a maximum of 14 years behind bars, the charges were reduced since she did not collect any money. The plea agreement calls for four years of work release, a year of probation and for her to perform 100 hours of community service.
"She expressed to the court she is genuinely remorseful. She wants to put this behind her," Murry's attorney, Max Wiley, told the Indy Channel. "The plea agreement will allow her to pay her debt to society and move on with her life."
Hurn is awaiting her sentencing and could face up to 36 years in prison. She goes to court in late September. The news of Murry's conviction comes just over a year after the date of the horrific accident, which killed seven and injured dozens more on Aug. 13, 2011. At this year's state fair event, a moment of silence was held at 8:46PM -- the exact minute that the first response call took place last year.
The remembrance, as well as the week's scheduled events, took place as planned, though there were no performances in front of the grandstand at the Indiana State Fair due to pending lawsuits to determine fault.
The lawsuit against Sugarland is still pending and is scheduled to go to trial on April 1, 2014.