Sherri Papini, the wife and mother of two who faked her own kidnapping six years ago, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison following her guilty plea earlier this year.
Papini, 39, pleaded guilty in April to mail fraud and lying to a law enforcement officer, just two counts of a 35-count indictment, NBC News reported. Those charges were related to Papini’s actions after she faked her own kidnapping, rather than the faked kidnapping itself.
Prosecutors had requested eight months in prison for Papini’s plea deal, arguing that “A lesser sentence, such as the one month of imprisonment recommended by probation or home detention in lieu of incarceration, is not sufficient to achieve the purposes of sentencing.”
U.S District Judge William Shubb went further, sentencing Papini to 18 months in prison plus 36 months of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $309,902 in restitution to the California Victim Compensation Board, the Social Security Administration, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI.
Papini’s counsel claimed she was a different person now.
“Whatever happened five years ago, that’s a different Sherri Papini than the person you see here today,” said her attorney, William Portanova.
Papini’s fake kidnapping occurred over a three-week period in November 2016 that led to a nationwide search involving the FBI, The Daily Wire previously reported. Three weeks after Papini disappeared, she was found on the side of a Yolo County freeway with a chain around her waist and a “brand” on her shoulder, which she claimed had been put on her by her kidnappers.
Papini initially told investigators that two Hispanic women kept her captive at gunpoint, and even worked with an FBI sketch artist to create images of the two women, which police used to search for them. It was DNA from her clothing that ultimately unraveled her story. DNA had been collected and put into a database that was routinely checked. It was this DNA that led to Papini’s ex-boyfriend.
When questioned, the ex-boyfriend, who has not been charged and thus has not been named, told investigators that Papini had told him she needed help and to get away, so he agreed to pick her up in Redding, California, and let her stay with him the entire time she was missing, according to FBI documents. The ex-boyfriend told investigators he didn’t know what Papini’s “final plan was” or if the situation meant they were getting back together.
The ex also said that Papini asked him to brand her using a wood-burning tool and eventually asked him to drive her back to Northern California.