REPORT: Mom Charged For Faking Kidnapping To Admit It Was All A Hoax, Sign Plea Deal

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Update: Papini is expected to sign a plea deal and admit that the alleged kidnapping was a hoax, according to The Sacramento Bee.

“We are taking this case in an entirely new direction,” said William Portanova, the defendant’s attorney and a former federal prosecutor, according to the Sacramento Bee. “Everything that has happened before today stops today.”

Papini is reportedly set to plead guilty to the charges of mail fraud and lying to a federal officer.

Police charged a California woman for allegedly faking her own kidnapping and fraudulently receiving $30,000 in victim assistance funds, according to a Thursday press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Sherri Papini, who was reported missing on Nov. 2, 2016, was arrested on charges of allegedly making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and engaging in mail fraud, according to the DOJ release. Papini, found on Nov. 24, 2016, claimed she had been kidnapped by Hispanic women and was branded on her shoulder, the release noted. She also said her alleged captors held her at gunpoint, according to USA Today.

Papini allegedly worked with an FBI sketch artist to help identify her purported captors and requested money from the California Victim Compensation Board. She received 35 payments totaling over $30,000, according to the release.


An investigation into Papini’s story found that she had reportedly stayed with a former boyfriend, harmed herself to support her story and lied to a federal agent during an interview with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and a federal agent, the release stated.

“Countless hours were spent following leads, all in an effort to bring this woman back to her family,” U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said of the case, according to the release. “Three weeks later, she was found 146 miles south of where she disappeared, and the focus went from trying to find her to trying to find her abductors.”

“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,” he continued.

If convicted, Papini faces up to five years in prison for the charge of lying to a federal agent and up to 25 years in prison for the mail fraud charge, according to the DOJ. She can also be fined up to $250,000 for each charge. (RELATED: Teen Girls Who Were Subjects Of Amber Alert Staged Their Abduction, Police Say)

Papini went jogging before she disappeared, the New York Post reported. She was found with male DNA belonging to a former boyfriend on her body, the outlet also said.

Her ex reportedly claimed she told him that her husband was abusive and she was trying to escape from him, according to the outlet.