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A California mother of two who allegedly faked her own kidnapping for 22 days in 2016 will admit that it was all a hoax under a plea deal she struck with prosecutors on Tuesday.
Sherri Papini, is 39 years old.
DETAIL OF INCIDENCE:
Sherri Papini, 39, will plead guilty to counts of lying to FBI agents and mail fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California confirmed.
“I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so very 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,” Papini said in a statement released by the office of her attorney, William Portanova. “I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.”Details of the plea deal come more than a month after she was arrested on March 3 and accused of defrauding California Victim’s Compensation Board out of $30,000.
Her family posted her $120,000 bond five days later and she was released under the conditions that she seeks psychiatric treatment and surrenders her passport.
Papini originally disappeared from her home in Redding, California, on Nov. 2, 2016. The disappearance riveted the nation until she showed up 22 days later on Thanksgiving Day in Woodland, about 140 miles south of Redding, with a brand on her right shoulder, bindings on her body, a swollen nose, and other injuries. At the time, Papini told police that two Hispanic women abducted her and held her against her will, providing descriptions of the suspects to a sketch artist so that law enforcement agencies could be on the lookout for them.
In reality, prosecutors say that Papini had been staying with an ex-boyfriend and harmed herself to make the hoax sound credible. Papini faces up to five years in prison for lying to FBI agents and up to 20 years in prison for mail fraud, though the plea agreement filed Tuesday said the “government will recommend that the defendant be sentenced to the low end of the applicable guideline range.”
Countless hours were spent following leads, all in an effort to bring this woman back to her family,” U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said after her arrest last month.
“Ultimately, the investigation revealed that there was no kidnapping and that time and resources that could have been used to investigate actual crime, protect the community, and provide resources to victims were wasted based on the defendant’s conduct.”