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Officials say CA woman faked 2016 abduction, defrauded victim compensation fund

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Posted at 11:24 AM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 13:24:51-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Northern California woman whose disappearance and mysterious reappearance set off a frantic three-week search more than five years ago has been arrested.

Sherri Papini was arrested Thursday on charges of lying to federal agents about being kidnapped and defrauding the state's victim compensation board.

Papini went missing for three weeks in 2016, triggering a widespread search in Northern California and several nearby states. She was found about 150 miles from her home with bindings on her body and injuries, including a "brand" on her right shoulder.

She told authorities at the time that she had been kidnapped at gunpoint by two Hispanic women while jogging.

Authorities say that was a lie. They said Papini was with a former boyfriend in Southern California and beat herself up to support her fabrication. They also claim that she collected $30,000 from California's victim compensation fund.

Papini has been charged with making false statements to federal law enforcement and mail fraud. If convicted, Papini could face up to five years in prison for the false statements charges and a maximum of 20 years in prison for mail fraud.