Sherri Papini from California, now 39, gave an intricate story of her abduction and treatment at the hands of the imaginary assaulters. She said that the assaulters spoke in Spanish language and wore masks as she was held at gunpoint.
When she was found after a three-week search in 2016, Papini told the cops that she had been abducted by two women who kept her chained at a secret place.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that Papini has been arrested and charged with making false statements and fraud.
On Friday, Papini made her initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge, Jeremy Peterson. Papini was represented by attorney Michael Borges.
Papini was ordered arrested as a danger and flight risk until Tuesday, March 8 for an imprisonment hearing before Jeremy Peterson to decide her custody status. Besides her detention hearing, Papini’s next court date is March 18.
Chris Thomas, Papini’s representative condemned her arrest. He said that she would have gone to the police station but the arrest was made in front of her children. Chris said that the way she has been taken to custody was unprofessional. They have collaborated with law enforcement’s requirements in spite of repeated attempts to unreasonably pit them against each other and empty threats to openly humiliate them. Chris further said that he and his client are confused by several aspects of the charges and hope to get clarification in the coming days.
US Attorney in The Department of Justice’s opening statement said that the public was filled with fear and apprehension when a young mother went missing in broad daylight. He further said that numerous hours were spent in an effort to bring this woman back to her family. Three weeks later, she was found and the focus then went from trying to find her to trying to find her kidnappers.
US Attorney said that the investigation revealed that there was no kidnapping took place and it was a total waste of time and resource that could have been used to investigate actual crime and to protect the community.
Keith, her husband reported that Papini has gone missing on November 2, 2016 after she failed to pick up their kids at day care. She was found three weeks later about 140 miles from her home.
Based on her explanation, police searched for two Hispanic women matching Papini’s details. But investigators ultimately found that Papini had made it up. DNA evidence eventually led them to the ex-boyfriend and the prosecutors said that Papini was staying willingly at her friend’s place during her alleged vanishing and had caused her own injuries to backing her lies.
The Department of Justice’s stated that Papini was presented with evidence that showed she had not been abducted. Instead of retracting her kidnapping story, Papini continued to make false statements about her purported abductors. Additionally, Papini received more than $30,000 from the California Victim’s Compensation Board to cover expenses, including visits to her therapist and an ambulance that took her to the hospital after she come back.
Papini remains in custody and is facing fraud charges and making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer. If convicted on both charges, Papini faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.