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Crime News Sherri Papini: Lies, Lies and More Lies

Sherri Papini Released from Prison Less Than a Year After Sentencing in Kidnapping Hoax

Sherri Papini, who staged her own abduction in 2016, is currently under community confinement in Sacramento County, according to federal prison records.

By Dorian Geiger

Sherri Papini, the woman who admitted to faking her own kidnapping, has been released from prison nearly a year after she was sentenced.

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According to federal prison records obtained by Oxygen.com, Papini, who falsely claimed she was abducted while jogging in 2016, is now under community confinement at a Sacramento County residential facility.  

The California mother of two was first arrested last year for fabricating her abduction story. Papini pleaded guilty to mail fraud and making false statements. She was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison in September 2022. 

Papini was also sentenced to 36 months of supervised release and ordered to pay $309,902 in restitution to the California Victim Compensation Board, the Social Security Administration, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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What happened to Sherri Papini?

In 2016, Papini vanished for a total of 22 days while out for a run near her house. Her disappearance galvanized an entire community, who banded together to find her. After more than three weeks, Papini reappeared along a highway. She looked beaten, bruised, and was wearing a chain; her right right shoulder appeared to have been branded. Papini told law enforcement she’d been abducted by two mysterious women for the purposes of human trafficking. 

However, it was all a lie. Prosecutors say Papini's injuries were self-inflicted and that she enlisted the assistance of her ex-boyfriend James Reyes to carry out the hoax. DNA evidence found on the clothing she was wearing when she was found was later matched to Reyes.

A police handout of Sherri Papini

Papini ultimately confessed to inventing the entire abduction narrative, admitting instead she’d fled Sacramento and hunkered down hundreds of miles away with her ex-boyfriend in Costa Mesa, California. Under Papni’s direction, Reyes allegedly clobbered her with hockey pucks to make it appear as if she’d been assaulted by her captors.

Prior to her sentencing, Papini told a California court she felt “deeply ashamed” for perpetuating the web of lies stemming from the staged abduction. 

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“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,” Papini said in a statement. “I will work the rest of my life to make amends for what I have done.”

Her attorney, William Portanova, then also noted his client had undergone intense “public shame” as a result of the “awful hoax.” 

Papini’s  husband, Keith Papini, who had scrambled to find his wife in the aftermath of her 2016 disappearance, filed for divorce shortly after Papini’s arrest.

Papini was the subject of Oxygen’s 90-minute special, Lies, Lies and More Lies in 2022.

Oxygen.com has reached out to Portanova for further comment.