06/13/2024

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Benjamin Hollins is seen after being apprehended by law enforcement. Inset: Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. (Images via Pinal County Sheriff's Office.)

‘We found you, you’re not dead’: Sex offender faked his death to avoid having to register, was ‘a little surprised’ when cops showed up years later, sheriff says

Benjamin Hollins is seen after being apprehended by law enforcement. Inset: Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. (Images via Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.)

A man Arizona law enforcement say faked his own death to avoid having to put his name on the sex offender registry has been caught.

Benjamin Hollins, 50, was arrested last week at the home where he was living in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix. Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said in a video posted to Facebook that Hollins is a repeat offender who took a unique approach to trying to evade the law.

“OK folks, this one is wild,” the video begins. “A sex offender fakes his own death to hide from us.”

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    The Facebook post says that Hollins had been convicted in California as a sex offender more than 20 years ago and moved out to Arizona, where he failed to add his name to the sex offender registry.

    “In 2018, he catches another charge, he reoffends,” Lamb says, adding: “He shouldn’t have even been out.”

    The sheriff’s office said that while working as a behavioral health counselor, Hollins was accused of “kidnapping and attempting to molest a 16-year-old client.”

    Part of the punishment for that 2018 offense was supervised probation, Lamb says — and registering as a sex offender every year in the Grand Canyon State.

    According to the sheriff, that registration never happened.

    “In October, he has a woman help him fake his own death,” Lamb explained on the video. “She files a police report that Benjamin jumped off the bridge at the Roosevelt Dam. Now, a lot of resources were wasted looking for his body, which was clearly not found because he wasn’t dead.”

    “But once Benjamin ‘was dead,’ he stopped registering, so the registration lapsed,” Lamb continued, adding air quotes around “was dead” for emphasis.

    Lamb said that law enforcement continued the search for Hollins, however, and eventually tracked him to a home in Mesa. Lamb said that Hollins was living with a family with children, and that the family “had no idea who he even was.”

    “He was a little bit surprised to see us, but I’m glad that our detectives and our deputies and Chandler PD worked hard, because he now is going to be held accountable for his actions,” Lamb added.

    Pinal County records show that Hollins has a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

    A search of the California sex offender registry does not show that Hollins was registered in that state. A search of the Arizona sex offender registry does show Hollins as listed.

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    The post ‘We found you, you’re not dead’: Sex offender faked his death to avoid having to register, was ‘a little surprised’ when cops showed up years later, sheriff says first appeared on Law & Crime.