Sherri Papini barely put a dent in the restitution she owes for faking kidnapping: Prosecutors




Sherri Papini, the California woman who pleaded guilty to staging her own three-week disappearance, has yet to pay the bulk of restitution, federal prosecutors wrote in a filing dated Sunday.

The judge in her September 2022 sentencing ordered her to pay $309,902.23 in restitution to cover expenses by government agencies that searched for her and provided financial aid after her reappearance.

There was also a $200 statutory assessment. Going by the new filing out of the Eastern District of California, it appears she barely put a dent in that so far. Authorities are seeking a writ of garnishment against property held by the law firm Kinney & Kinney Attorneys, saying that Papini “has a substantial nonexempt interest” in the property.

As of this week, Papini has paid $610 toward what she owes, the filing shows.

“As of March 22, 2024, Debtor owes $309,292.23,” they wrote. “Despite the United States’ demand for payment, made more than 30 days before the date of this Application, Debtor has failed to satisfy the debt. No interest accrues on this debt.”

On top of that, they are adding a 10% surcharge to cover the costs of seeking the unpaid money.

“The United States also seeks to recover the statutorily authorized ten percent (10%) litigation surcharge of the unpaid Judgment Amount ($30,929.00) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 3011(a),” they wrote. “The total amount sought by this garnishment action is $340,221.23.”

Her attorney, William Portanova, said she is working on her debt.

“Sherri Papini appreciates the significance of her financial obligations to the Court and to the Government and will continue to meet said obligations as she has promised,” he wrote to Law&Crime. “Nothing has changed.”

The defendant’s husband, Keith Papini, filed for divorce after her 2022 guilty plea.

U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb in September 2022 sentenced her to 18 months in prison, exceeding the prosecution’s request for eight months behind bars. He also sentenced her to three years of probation. She left federal custody on Sept. 29, 2023, records show.

Papini went missing for three weeks in 2016 before turning up with binding on her body and a brand on her right shoulder. She claimed that two Hispanic women kidnapped her at gunpoint.

Receiving almost $31,000 from the Crime Victims Compensation Board, she used the money to pay for therapy, purchase new blinds for her home, and cover her ambulance bill. Investigators determined, however, that she staged her disappearance, hiding out with an ex-boyfriend.

“Papini’s past trauma and mental health issues alone cannot account for all of her actions,” Assistant U.S. attorneys Veronica M.A. Alegria and Shelley D. Weger wrote in a memo. “Papini’s actions were well planned and deliberately considered. She was able to evade a nationwide manhunt, including the combined forces of the FBI and local police, for 22 days until she staged her dramatic return. Papini’s planning of her hoax kidnapping was meticulous and began months in advance — it was not merely the reaction to a traumatic childhood.”

Note: We added the statement from Portanova.



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