Sherri Papini’s once sympathetic tale grows more loathsome with each passing day.
The California “super mom” didn’t just fake her own abduction: Papini and her husband Keith also allegedly used nearly $50,000 donated toward the effort to find her to pay off their credit cards instead, according to authorities.
Papini was arrested Thursday on charges she staged her own 2016 kidnapping, a shocking three-week disappearance that generated international headlines and an outpouring of public support.
Federal prosecutors in California also claim in court papers Papini used $49,070 donated through the “Bring Sherri Home Safe” GoFundMe page, toward credit card debt and other personal expenses. It appears her husband de ella Keith, and an unnamed ex-boyfriend, were at least aware of her ruse de ella.
“Thank you all so much for your donations,” Keith Papini wrote on the GoFundMe page on Nov. 7, 2016, five days after he reported her missing. “Your generosity, concern and prayers are very much appreciated by the Papini family.”
Just one month later, on Dec. 6, he wrote a $31,818.13 check to himself from the GoFundMe account, prosecutors allege, much of which was used to pay down credit card debt. The rest of the donated funds were put in the couple’s bank accounts and spent on personal expenses.
Papini, 39, of Redding, Calif., was found beaten and bound on a Yolo County road by local sheriffs on Thanksgiving morning 2016. She shared horrific tales of her gunpoint abduction by two Hispanic woman and brutal captivity, including allegations that she was forced to use a trash can as a toilet and was brutally branded on her right shoulder.
She actually spent the entire three weeks staying with an old boyfriend, prosecutors say, and he was the person who branded her with a wood-burning tool, which he purchased at a local Hobby Lobby.
Papini, who is locked up at the Sacramento County Jail, had a virtual hearing on Zoom before US Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson on Friday. He ordered that she remain in custody at least until her next court date Tuesday.
Her attorney, Michael Borges, used the opportunity to express her concerns about the quality of jail food.
“She has allergies that affect her ability to eat the food that’s been provided to her in Sacramento County Jail,” Borges said. “She had not been provided with any food other than a part of an apple. Ella she has not been able to eat since she’s been detained yesterday morning.
Papini is charged with making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer and engaging in mail fraud. She faces up to 25 years if convicted on both charges. She was also reimbursed more than $30,000 by a state compensation board based on her false kidnapping tale of her.