Federal prosecutors have announced that Sherri Ppini, a California mother was sentenced for 18 months to prison for staging her own kidnapping attempt and then lying about it to FBI agents.
In April, she pleaded guilty to mailfraud and making false statements about federal authorities. She was also ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution as part of her plea deal.
Papini disappeared in 2016 from her Redding neighborhood in Northern California after dropping her two young children at day care. She resurfaced three weeks later, on Thanksgiving, with a bizarre story of being held hostage by two masked Hispanic women who branded her with a hot tool, refused to feed her and kept her chained in a bedroom for 22 days.
She finally admitted she had left her family and gone to Southern California with an ex-boyfriend.
“I am guilty of lying. I am guilty of dishonor,”Monday, she stated this at her sentencing hearing. “I am choosing to humbly accept responsibility.”
Senior U.S. District Judge William Shubb ignored the recommendations of probation officers and Papini’s attorney, who recommended she spend a month in custody and seven months in supervised home detention. Shubb ignored the requests of prosecutors for an eight month incarceration.
The judge said he sentenced Papini to 18 months to deter copycats, and because of “the sheer number of people who were impacted.”
He said that they included her family, law enforcement officers, and her neighbors who searched across several states for her. For four years, her fake story was believed and falsely cast suspicion on the Hispanic community, authorities said.
Prosecutors stated that Papini ran to her former boyfriend 600 miles from her house. After she told him she wanted home, he drove her along Interstate 5 for 150 miles.
She was picked up by passersby who discovered her with bindings, a swollen nose, a blurred “brand”According to authorities, she had burns on her left arm and her right shoulder. Prosecutors said that her injuries were self-inflicted, and meant to prove her story.
Papini received funds from the GoFundMe, California Victim Compensation Board, and Social Security Administration after her return.
“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,”Monday was her sentencing announcement by the prosecutors.
After Papini had pleaded guilty, her husband filed for divorce proceedings and sole custody of their children.
William Portanova, the defense attorney, called it outside court “a fair sentence, even though it’s longer than we wished.”
Papini never explained publicly why she tried to fake her kidnapping. Her lawyer had blamed it. “what sounds like a fierce storm that was going on for a long time inside her head.”