The California “super mom” who faked her own kidnapping and lied for years about being abducted and tortured by a pair of Hispanic women was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison.
Sherri Papini, 40, was blasted as a “manipulator” by US District Court Judge William Shubb before he handed down the stiff penalty.
The fraudster – who was dubbed a “super mom” when she vanished in 2016 – agreed to a plea deal in April that also requires her to pay more than $300,000 in restitution.
Prosecutors had requested she be locked up for eight months, according to a sentencing memo filed in her case. Her defense attorney asked she serve one month in prison and seven months of home detention.
“People don’t like to be conned,” Shubb said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “And I don’t believe those people who were deceived would believe that one month or eight months is sufficient.”
Shubb said he settled on the stiffer sentence to deter other potential hoax plotters – and because of the “sheer number of people who were impacted,” the Associated Press reported.
Before she was sentenced, Papini – her voice breaking at times – read a prepared statement, fessing up for her crimes, according to the Bee.
“I am guilty of lying. I am guilty of dishonor. I stand before you willing to accept. To repent and to concede. I trust in this court. I trust the officers handling my release and I trust in you, your honor, to see me, to hear me,” she said.
Papini, a mom of two, disappeared for more than 20 days in the fall of 2016, reappearing on Thanksgiving day along Interstate 5 in rural Yolo County, Calif. with a chain around her waist and a “brand” on her shoulder.
She told police she was abducted by a pair of gun-toting Hispanic women while she was jogging near her home on Nov. 2, 2016. She alleged the fictional duo tortured her for more three weeks – and eventually convinced her family and friends that the ordeal was true.
The pathological liar spread falsehoods about the ordeal for years, until prosecutors determined she was with her ex-boyfriend, James Reyes, at his apartment in Costa Mesa.
In their sentencing submission, prosecutors said Papini’s lies led innocent people to come under criminal investigation.
“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,” they wrote.