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Women face charges in Sugarland concert tragedy

Monday, November 28, 2011 – Two Indianapolis women allegedly filed false injury claims with the state to obtain money set aside in the wake of the Indiana State Fair tragedy at a Sugarland concert, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Investigators say neither women was at the fair on Aug. 13 when a sudden wind kicked up, toppling the staging before Sugarland hit the stage. Seven people were killed in the incident.

Stephanie Murry, 25, and Sandra Hurn, 38, face fraud charges. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said Tuesday the pair were charged with making false claims in order to collect money from two funds set aside for victims of the tragedy from the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund, Curry said.

"I do not understand the mentality of someone who would look at the circumstances of that night and see the potential for financial profit from this kind of scheme," Curry said in the Star article. "Most of us would look at those circumstances and feel sympathy and a desire to help assist the real victims in any way we could."

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

Investigators started examining their claims after an Indiana State Fair Commission official, Justin Armstrong, reported to Indiana State Police that his office had received two claim claims from women seeking funds that appeared "questionable." The women submitted claims totaling $22,500.

One problem was that Hurn allegedly said Sugarland performed "a couple of songs" before the collapse. Sugarland never set foot on stage.

Hurn allegedly went to a hospital shortly after midnight Aug. 14 and later that afternoon to create a trail supporting her claims. Hurn eventually confessed to the scheme, the story said.

Hurn faces felony charges of forgery, perjury, theft and attempted theft. Murry faces felony charges of forgery, perjury and attempted theft. Hurn could receive 36 years in prison if convicted plus thousands of dollars in fines. Murry faces a maximum of 14 years in prison, if convicted, in addition to any financial penalties.

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