Sherry Papino standing in front of a boat

Sherri Papini: Federal Prosecutors Push for Kidnap Hoax ‘Super Mom’ to Serve Time in Jail

Federal prosecutors say that Sherri Papini, a California mother who staged her own kidnapping, should spend time in jail for her elaborate hoax.

On Wednesday, prosecutors suggested Papini should serve a sentence consisting of a month behind bars, followed by seven months under house arrest. CBS reports that the sentence suggestion was provided in an amended memorandum filed at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Papini previously pleaded guilty and took a plea deal for orchestrating the hoax and for mail fraud. In April, Papini’s attorney, William J. Portanova, indicated that he would work out a deal with federal prosecutors. She was initially facing up to 20 years in prison for 34 counts of mail fraud alone, and another five years for lying to the FBI about the kidnapping.

Prosecutors said that the suggested sentence for Papion “fully and fairly accounts for the totality of Papini’s conduct and the relevant sentencing factors, and is sufficient but not greater than necessary to satisfy the sentencing purposes.”

“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.”

Sherri Papini of Redding leaves the federal courthouse accompanied by her attorney, William Portanova, right, after her arraignment in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Papini who was charged last month with faking her kidnapping in 2016, accepted a plea bargain with prosecutors Tuesday and acknowledged she made up the story that prompted a frantic search and international headlines. Defense attorney Portanova said his client will plead guilty to charges of lying to a federal officer and mail fraud. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Papini was reported missing on November 2, 2016, and found 22 days later just off Interstate 5 near Yolo, California, as CrimeOnline previously reported. She was emaciated and had cuts and bruises all over her body. She had a “brand” on one shoulder and her hair was cut shorter.

She told investigators that she had been kidnapped at gunpoint by a pair of Hispanic women and provided descriptions to a sketch artist. She also provided detailed descriptions of her treatment by the two women.

But federal authorities said she was actually staying with a former boyfriend in Costa Mesa, some 600 miles from her Shasta County home, and all the stories were lies.

“When a young mother went missing in broad daylight, a community was filled with fear and concern,” U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert previously said in a statement. “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.”

Papini “harmed herself to support her false statements,” the US Attorney’s Office said. She was also reimbursed $30,000 by the victim compensation board to cover therapy appointments, ambulance rides, and other items.

A complaint says that Papini’s ex-boyfriend provided information about her stay with him, telling investigators that they communicated with one another with prepaid cell phones for nearly a year before the alleged abduction.

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[Feature Photo: Keith and Sherri Papini/ Handout]

Additional reporting by KC Wildmoon