‘Supermom’ Sherri Papini takes plea deal after faking her 2016 kidnapping: ‘I am deeply ashamed’

Hoax allowed woman to collect $30,000 in victim assistance

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 13 April 2022 00:20 BST

Sherri Papini, a Northern California woman who faked her own 2016 kidnapping, has agreed to a plea deal with authorities confessing that her story was a hoax.

"I am deeply ashamed of myself for my behavior and so 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," she said in a statement to the media on Tuesday. "I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done."

Papini, 39, was reported missing in November 2016 after going out for a job, and wasn’t “found” until three weeks later, alone on the highway 140 miles away from her home in Shasta County.

She claimed that she had been abducted by Spanish-speaking assailants, chained up in a closet, and branded.

In truth, she had spent her “abduction” hiding out with an ex-boyfriend in Southern California, as tens of thousands of dollars were fundraised in support of her release.

After resurfacing, she also got over $30,000 from the state in victim relief money.

The plea deal was delivered to prosecutors at the US Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, the same day officials filed a charging document laying out 34 counts of mail fraud and one count of making false statements against Papini.

She’s expected to appear before a magistrate judge this week, reports the Sacramento Bee, which broke the news of the plea.

Papini was arrested in March by the FBI for making false statements to law enforcement.

Her story raised doubts almost instantly, as community members searched throughout the area looking for any sign of the missing woman.

“There was so much that questioned the validity of her story. I didn’t believe it for a moment,” Tim Scarbrough, a 58-year-old banker and father of three daughters, told The Independent.

He began pouring over the case and blogging about his findings, which suggested Papini wasn’t being truthful.

Some community members said the woman was a serial liar, while others defended her as a victim and a “supermom” who had gone through a harrowing experience.

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