Sherri Papini, who faked being kidnapped, still owes $300,000 and prosecutors are collecting on her

Sherri Papini, the woman who fabricated her own elaborate kidnapping and went to prison for mail fraud and lying to federal agents, still owes more than $300,000 in restitution, federal officials said.

Papini, 41, was ordered to pay $309,902 in restitution when she was sentenced to federal prison in September 2022, nearly six years after she staged her own kidnapping and launched a frantic search that made national headlines.

But as of March 22, federal officials say Papini still owes almost all of the money.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California filed a garnishment petition against Papini valued at $340,221.23, which includes a 10% litigation surcharge.

The lawsuit also addresses the law firm that represented Papini in her divorce. The filing alleges that Papini has a “substantial non-exempt interest in property” that is in the “possession, custody or control” of the law firm.

Sacramento-based attorney William Portanova, who represented Papini in her federal case, admitted this was the case during her sentencing hearing in September 2022 It is unlikely that he will be able to afford the payments.

“Sherri Papini was ordered to make full restitution as part of her case resolution before U.S. District Court Judge William B. Shubb, and Ms. Papini continues to keep her promise to do so,” Portanova wrote in an emailed statement. “The court and the government are fully aware of Ms. Papini’s current financial situation. Nothing has changed.”

Papini went missing from her home in Redding, California, for 22 days in 2016, prompting search parties in rural Shasta County and desperate calls for help from her then-husband Keith Papini.

Three weeks later, Papini appeared again on the side of the road in Yolo County, bruised and emaciated, her long blonde hair cropped short and branded on her right shoulder.

Papini initially claimed that she was kidnapped at gunpoint by two Latinas during a run and held them captive before they let her go.

Instead, Papini had driven south to Costa Mesa with an ex-boyfriend and hid with him for several weeks while her family and community back home searched for her.

Papini stuck to her story for years, even as the investigation into her kidnapping led law enforcement to the ex-boyfriend. Everything began to unravel in August 2020, when Papini was confronted by investigators in an interview about lying to federal officials as a crime.

Papini stuck to her story for a year and a half before federal authorities arrested the “super mom” in March 2022 and accused her of mail fraud and lying to authorities.

The ex-boyfriend had told investigators that Papini had injured herself and cut her own hair and that he had helped her burn her shoulder with a wood burner. After she said she missed her home and family, he drove her back to the Redding area; On Thanksgiving, she reappeared in Woodland, about 150 miles south.

Papini pleaded guilty in April 2022 and was later sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution “for losses incurred by the California Victim Compensation Board, the Social Security Administration, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation “. according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Papini had received $30,000 from the state’s Victim Compensation Fund, which is money set aside for crime victims and their families, and used some of it to pay Therapy sessions and blinds. She was released from federal prison six months early in August 2023 and placed in community custody.

“I am so sorry for the many people who have suffered because of me,” Papini said in court as she was sentenced. “I am guilty, your honor. I am guilty of lying and shame.”

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