“Deeply ashamed” Sherri Papini to Plead Guilty in Fake Kidnapping
After federal authorities discovered that a Northern California woman had staged her own kidnapping in 2016, she has finally acknowledged to the crime, agreed to plead guilty, and offered an apology.
In November 2016, a kidnapping of a blonde white woman made news around the country just months after a real kidnapping in Vallejo that officials sadly deemed was a fabrication. While jogging with her two young children in Redding, California, Sherri Papini was kidnapped and held hostage by two Hispanic women. She unexpectedly reappeared many weeks later with bruises and an apparent branding mark.
A look into Papini’s past by the media revealed that she had a troubled youth that included run-ins with police authorities. Not until federal authorities ended their probe, however, five years later, they were able to determine that Papini was not kidnapped but had instead spent those three weeks in Southern California with an ex-boyfriend.
She went on to describe her non-existent abductors to an FBI sketch artist, and she lied repeatedly to both local and federal law enforcement. Adding insult to injury, she had already defrauded the California Victim’s Compensation Board of over $30,000 by collecting cash to pay for counselling to recuperate from her bogus kidnapping.
It’s now been reported that Papini has agreed to admit guilt to two counts of mail fraud and false statements to an officer, as well as $300,000 in reparations to the government. Although prosecutors have suggested they will request a lesser term, she faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail if convicted of these crimes.
Attorney William Portanova approved the plea agreement on Tuesday with a condition that Papini admit she was responsible for orchestrating the deception.
My family, my friends, and all the wonderful people who have been hurt by my narrative and those who have worked so hard to try to help me, I am extremely ashamed of my behaviour,” Papini said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Papini pledged, “I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done,”
It’s not clear how Papini’s family and husband feel about this. “confused by several aspects” of the charges against her were confusing to her family at the time of her March 3 arrest, a spokeswoman for the family said in a statement released soon after the arrest.
Law officers ambushed Sherri that day in front of her children in a dramatic and unnecessary manner, the family said.
In several instances, federal agents expressed their displeasure with the case.
Federal prosecutor Phil Talbert’s office claimed in a statement that when Papini’s accusations were published they received evidence that proved she had been abducted. “Instead of retracting her kidnapping story, Papini continued to make false statements about her purported abductors.” said the report.
For the time being, she’s likely going to spend some time behind bars; we just don’t know how much. Her arraignment was set for today and Monday, when she was expected to enter a plea.