NorCal Mom Sherri Papini Gets 18 Months in Prison for Kidnapping Hoax

Papini said she was abducted at gunpoint and tortured for weeks by two women in 2016, but later confessed it was all a lie

Sherri Papini, the blonde California mom who claimed she was kidnapped at gunpoint but later admitted it was a hoax, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced in a statement Monday.

Papini, 39, took a plea deal in April to one count of lying to a federal officer and one count of mail fraud for staging the kidnapping in 2016, telling authorities she had been abducted while taking a run in her neighborhood of Redding by two masked Hispanic women packing guns. According to Papini’s tale, they branded her, tortured her, and kept her bound in chains in a bedroom for over three weeks.

However, after after investigating her kidnapping claims, authorities discovered that Papini had made up the whole thing, and had in fact been hiding out with an ex-boyfriend in Costa Mesa. The ex told authorities that he had helped her “run away” because she told him she was escaping an abusive ex-husband, People reports.

According to a federal complaint against Papini, she attempted to starve herself thin during her time with ex-boyfriend, gave herself visible injuries—including striking herself to create bruises—and cut off her hair. Her ex allegedly helped in creating some of these injuries, at Papini’s request.

The complaint also says Papini used $3,054 in funds from a GoFundMe created for her aid to pay off a credit card.

Now, Papini will have to pay back $309,902 in restitution to the California Victim Compensation Board, the Social Security Administration, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI for losses incurred because of her untruths, according to the statement from Talbert. Papini’s outstanding bills include $30,000 for therapy to California Victim’s Compensation Board, plus an ambulance trip, more than $127,000 to the Social Security Administration, $148,866 to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and $2,558 to the FBI.

“Not only did Papini lie to law enforcement, her friends, and her family, she also made false statements to the California Victim Compensation Board and the Social Security Administration in order to receive benefits as a result of her alleged ‘post-traumatic stress’ from being abducted,” the statement says.

In a statement released through her attorney in April, Papini said she was “deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so sorry for the pain I’ve caused my family, my friends, all the good people who needlessly suffered because of my story and those who worked so hard to try to help me. I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.”

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