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Prosecutors: Women Trying To Collect Weren’t Really At Indiana State Fair

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The overhead stage rigging collapses into the crowd in front of the stage at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, in Indianapolis. Authorities say they have confirmed at least three deaths after the stage collapse, where the country group Sugarland was set to perform. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger)

The overhead stage rigging collapses into the crowd in front of the stage at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, in Indianapolis. Authorities say they have confirmed at least three deaths after the stage collapse, where the country group Sugarland was set to perform. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger)

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INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) — Two women have been charged with trying to collect money from funds intended for the victims of the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair this past summer.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports, authorities say Stephanie Murry, 25, and Sandra Hurn, 38, both of Indianapolis, have been charged with forgery, attempted theft and perjury. Hurn also faces charges of theft.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports


Police say the women each submitted claims worth $22,500 to a private relief fund and the State of Indiana tort claim fund, both of which are administered by the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

The woman allegedly falsified hospital records that detailed injuries they claimed to have suffered on Aug. 13, when a freak blast of wind ripped down the stage at the Indiana State Fair just as the country group Sugarland was about to play.

Seven people were killed and dozens were hurt in the stage collapse, but prosecutors say Hurn and Murry were not among the injured. In fact, prosecutors say neither was there at all.

The women were told they would receive money from the tort claim fund, but instead, Hurn was arrested when she came for her check, and Murry was arrested a short time afterward.

If convicted, Murry could face up to 14 years in prison, Hurn up to 36.

Concert-goers said on Aug. 13, opening act Sara Bareilles had finished performing, and the crowd was waiting for Sugarland to take the stage when the storm hit just before 9 p.m.

Meteorologists believe the wind storm might have been what’s known as a “gustnado” — which forms when a strong wind just before a thunderstorm causes the air to circulate like a tornado.

A Chicago woman was among those killed. Christina Santiago, 29, of the Edgewater neighborhood, managed programming at the Lesbian Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago.

Santiago’s partner, Alisha Brennon, later filed lawsuits in connection with the incident, requesting damages and spousal death benefits from the State of Indiana.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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