White Woman Who Accused Mexicans of Kidnapping Her as a Hoax, Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

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White Woman Who Accused Mexicans of Kidnapping her as a Hoax, Sherri Papini, Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

SACRAMENTO- After pleading guilty last April, Sherri Papini was sentenced in Sacramento today by Judge William B. Shubb to serve 18 months in prison. The prison sentence will be followed by 36 months of supervision and nearly $310,000 in restitution. She was convicted of mail fraud and making false statements after admitting to a hoax in 2016 in which she pretended to be kidnapped while on a jog in Shasta County. When she resurfaced three weeks later she was found on the side of a freeway nearly 140 miles away from the supposed abduction claiming she was kidnapped and tortured by two “Spanish speaking women”.

The false accusations led to an extensive search for the fake abductors who Papini described according to stereotypes and tropes of Mexican women wearing “hoop earrings”, “drawn in eye brows”, and bandanas linked to the cholo/chola subculture and gang attire. No such suspects were ever found because they didn’t exist. Meanwhile Papini collected more than $30,000 from California tax payers in victim compensation funds.

Her fake story fell apart when investigators in connected DNA from her clothing to her ex-boyfriend, who would admit to helping her carry out the hoax.

“Papini planned and executed a sophisticated kidnapping hoax, and then continued to perpetuate her false statements for years after her return without regard for the harm she caused others,” federal prosecutors stated in their filing against her. “As a result, state and federal investigators devoted limited resources to Papini’s case for nearly four years before they independently learned the truth: that she was not kidnapped and tortured….Papini caused innocent individuals to become targets of a criminal investigation… She left the public in fear of her alleged Hispanic capturers who purportedly remained at large.”

The sentence of 18 months was even longer than prosecuting attorneys had requested. Prosecutors only asked the judge to sentence her to eight months in prison.

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