Sex Offender Arrested After Faking His Death to Avoid Registering, Sheriff Says

Pinal County Sheriff's Office
Pinal County Sheriff's Office

A convicted sex offender was arrested on Tuesday in Arizona, seven months after he allegedly faked his own death to avoid having to register.

In October, 50-year-old Benjamin Hollins allegedly had a woman file a false police report claiming that he’d killed himself jumping off the Theodore Roosevelt Lake Bridge in Roosevelt, Arizona.

In a video statement posted to Facebook, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said his department had wasted “a lot of resources” searching for Hollins’ body, “which was clearly not found, because he wasn’t dead.”

“Chandler PD didn’t give up. They kept investigating and they found him,” said Lamb. Police say they discovered Hollins living in Mesa, Arizona, with a family with children, who were not aware of his identity.

He was arrested by a Pinal County regional SWAT team, and was being held at Pinal County jail on Saturday. Hollins was convicted as a sex offender in California over 20 years ago, but did not register as a sex offender when he moved to Arizona in 2018, where he worked as a behavioral health counselor.

That same year, he was charged with kidnapping and molesting one of his 16-year-old clients, according to AZ Family. He pleaded guilty, and as part of a plea agreement, a sexual abuse count was dropped. Hollins also failed to register as a sex offender in 2019, and while he was allegedly pretending to be dead, his sex offender registration lapsed.

“Nice try, Benjamin,” said Lamb. “We found you. You’re not dead. We’re going to hold you accountable.”

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