Woman sentenced to four years for filing false State Fair claim

Sandra Hurn
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An Indianapolis woman was sentenced to four years after pleading guilty to filing a false claim in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

Sandra Hurn pleaded guilty to charges stemming from false claims made to the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund following the 2011 stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

Hurn pleaded guilty as charged to C felony Forgery and was sentenced to four years, with two years home detention followed by two years probation. She was ordered to repay full restitution of $7,500 and complete 80 hours community service.

Hurn was one of two women who filed false claims after the August 2011 tragedy. Stephanie Murry was also charged in December 2011. 

Authorities say the women each submitted claims totaling $22,500, including falsified hospital records. Neither woman attended the concert, an investigation determined. Murry's claim was denied because her alleged injury did not meet qualifications.

The scaffolding on the stage collapsed when a strong thunderstorm moved through that night. Seven people were killed and dozens were injured, some critically.

Indiana law limits legal caps legal claims at $5 million, and the charity fund raised about $1 million. Lawmakers later approved an additional $6 million for victims.

"The Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund was created for donors seeking to make donations in the wake of the Indiana State Fair Stage collapse in 2011. These funds were to be issued to victims of this tragic event," said Deputy Prosecutor Anne Harrigan, who handled the case. "The defendant violated the trust and abused the generosity of these donors. She falsely claimed that she was a victim of this tragedy, and attempted to profit from it. This is a slap in the face to all those who were victims, those who loved them, and the hard working Hoosiers who contributed to that fund."

Murry pleaded guilty as charged to C felony Forgery and D felony Perjury on August 27, 2012, but has not yet been sentenced. As a result of a violation of release conditions, there is a warrant for her arrest.