SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Redding woman has signed a plea agreement admitting that she planned and participated in her own hoax kidnapping and agreeing to plead guilty to making materially false statements to FBI agents about the circumstances of her disappearance and committing mail fraud based on her being a kidnapping victim, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced today.
Sherri Papini, 39, of Redding, was charged in a criminal information filed today in the U.S. District Court with thirty-four counts of mail fraud and one count of making false statements. In a plea agreement, also filed today, Papini agreed to plead guilty to a single count of mail fraud and one count of making false statements. Papini was arrested on March 3 based on a criminal complaint filed that day.
The court has not yet scheduled a date for Papini to enter her guilty pleas.
This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Forensic Services and Bureau of Investigation, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Veronica M.A. Alegría and Shelley D. Weger are prosecuting the case.
Papini faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the count of mail fraud. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.