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Man arrested in Pinal County for faking his own death to avoid registering as a sex offender

50-year-old Benjamin Hollins was arrested in Mesa Tuesday
Officer stabbed by inmates at Pinal County Jail
Posted at 5:32 PM, May 16, 2024

MESA, AZ — A man is in custody after he allegedly faked his own death to avoid registering as a sex offender in Pinal County.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb says 50-year-old Benjamin Hollins was convicted as a sex offender in California more than 20 years ago.

In 2018, Hollins had moved to Arizona City and failed to register in Arizona as a sex offender.

PCSO says he re-offended while working as a behavioral health counselor here when he kidnapped and attempted to molest a 16-year-old client.

In that case, he took a plea deal that required him to register as a sex offender every year.

Then in October of last year, PCSO says Hollins had a woman help him file a false report by claiming she watched him take his own life by jumping off a bridge.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office says a massive amount of resources were used to attempt to find his body after that report. His body was never found. Once Hollins was believed to be "dead," his sex offender registration lapsed.

Chandler police reportedly tracked Hollins to a home in Mesa where he was living under a different identity.

He was taken into custody Tuesday.

PCSO says the family with young children he was living with had no idea of his criminal history.

It's unclear what charges Hollins is facing.