Sherri Papini takes the blame for the kidnapping scam

Sherri Papini, the California “supermom” accused of orchestrating her own kidnapping in 2016 and sparking a statewide search, has signed a plea deal, The Post has learned.

Papini, who faced up to 25 years in a conviction for false information to a federal law enforcement officer and mail fraud, signed the agreement Tuesday morning in which she will plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of a false testimony, US officials said. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert.

“I am deeply ashamed of my behavior and so sorry for the pain I have caused my family, my friends, all the good people who have suffered needlessly because of my story and those who have worked so hard to to try to help me,” Papini said in a statement to The Post provided by her attorney, William Portanova.

“I will work the rest of my life to make up for what I did.”

The court has yet to set a date when Papini will plead guilty. She received a $120,000 bond.

It’s not clear how much time Papini will get, but she faces a maximum of five years in prison for false testimony and 20 years for mail fraud, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California said.

A missing sign in Mountain Gate, California for Sherri Papini.
Sherri Papini faced up to 25 years in prison.
Andrew Seng/The Bee of Sacramento/AP

“The actual sentence … will be determined at the discretion of the court after considering all applicable factors of law and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which consider a number of variables,” the bureau said in a statement.

Portanova, who took over the case from Papini’s former defense attorney Michael Borges in late March, told the Sacramento Bee that the plea deal comes about because they “take the case in a whole new direction.”

“Everything that happened before stops today,” Portanova said.

Papini, 39, of Redding, was arrested March 3 after prosecutors said the mother-of-two lied when she told investigators she was kidnapped at gunpoint by two Hispanic women, and an FBI sketch artist even did gave a wrong description.

She also told investigators that the women beat her, chopped up her blonde hair, and played mariachi music in the vehicle before she was finally released on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.

Authorities said Papini made the whole thing up and is instead staying in an apartment in Costa Mesa, California, with her ex-boyfriend James Reyes.

Sherri Papini exits Sacramento County's main jail after being granted bail.
Sherri Papini exits Sacramento County’s main jail after being granted bail.
Andri Tambunan for the New York Post

According to the complaint, a bottle of Honest Green Tea found in a Costa Mesa trash can matched Reyes’ DNA collected from Papini’s clothing, which eventually helped officials determine that she was dating Reyes.

Cell phone records also showed that Reyes had exchanged text messages with Papini on the morning of her disappearance, prosecutors said in the criminal complaint.

Neither Reyes nor Papini’s husband Keith have been charged. Shasta County Sheriff Michael Johnson said last month that he believes the “super mom” did not act alone.

“I certainly wouldn’t be surprised,” Johnson said in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America on March 7 when asked about potential new charges against Papini or anyone else close to the case. “I wouldn’t necessarily say I suspect it. It goes to the grand jury, they hand out whatever charges they see fit. But I certainly wouldn’t be surprised because she couldn’t do it alone and other people are involved.

Sherry Papini
Sherri Papini was arrested on March 3 after prosecutors said she lied when she told investigators she was kidnapped at gunpoint.

Federal prosecutors allege in court filings that Papini’s husband used approximately $8,212 in donations to an online fundraiser to pay off some of his personal credit cards. The GoFundMe page Bring Sherri Home brought in a total of $49,070, according to prosecutors.

Papini was also recovered more than $30,000 from a state compensation agency based on her false kidnapping story. Sherri Papini takes the blame for the kidnapping scam


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