Years after lying to police investigators and saying that “two Hispanic women” abducted her while she was out for a jog, Sherri Papini, 39, has been charged with making false statements to law enforcement and mail fraud. She now faces up to 25 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
Papini was reported missing on November 2, 2016. She was found 22 days later – on Thanksgiving Day – on the side of the road approximately 150 miles from her home in Redding, California.
At the time, Papini told cops she was abducted by “two Hispanic women” and held at gunpoint. She even provided physical descriptions of her alleged kidnappers, so police could create a pair of sketches.
Since her disappearance, the United States Department of Justice learned that Papini was not, in fact, taken by force, but, instead, was staying with an ex-boyfriend in Costa Mesa, California, a city between Huntington Beach and Irvine.
Sherri Papini even went as far as to harm herself to make her story more believable and continued to make false claims through August 2020. She also received more than $30,000 in victim assistance by the California Victim’s Compensation Board up until last year.
“When a young mother went missing in broad daylight, a community was filled with fear and concern,” U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said. “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.”