Sherri Papini, a woman who fabricated her own kidnapping, still owes over $300,000 in restitution, according to federal officials. She was ordered to pay $309,902 when she was sentenced to federal prison in September 2022, nearly six years after staging her own abduction. As of March 22, Papini still owes almost all of that money. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California filed a writ of garnishment worth $340,221.23, including a 10% litigation surcharge, against Papini to collect the outstanding debt.

Sacramento-based attorney William Portanova, who represented Papini, acknowledged during her September 2022 sentencing hearing that she was unlikely to be able to afford the payments. However, he stated that Papini was committed to fulfilling her promise to pay restitution. Papini disappeared from her home in Redding, California, for 22 days in 2016, sparking a massive search effort. She later reappeared bruised and emaciated, falsely claiming she was kidnapped by two Latinas at gunpoint. In reality, Papini had gone to Costa Mesa with an ex-boyfriend, where she stayed for several weeks while her family and community searched for her.

Papini’s story unraveled in August 2020 when investigators confronted her about lying to federal officers, leading to her arrest in March 2022. She eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud and lying to authorities, admitting that she had cut her own hair and branded her shoulder with her ex-boyfriend’s help. Papini was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution to various entities. She also received $30,000 from the state’s victim compensation fund, which she used for therapy and window blinds. Papini was released to community confinement six months early in August 2023.

In court, Papini expressed remorse for her actions, stating, “I’m so sorry to the many people who suffered because of me. I am guilty of lying, guilty of dishonor.” Despite her statements, federal officials filed a writ of garnishment against Papini to collect the remaining restitution amount. Her attorney maintains that she continues to strive to honor her promise to repay the debt, and both the court and the government are aware of her financial situation. Papini’s elaborate deception captivated national attention, sparking a frantic search and garnering media coverage for weeks. However, the truth eventually came to light, leading to her conviction for mail fraud and lying to federal agents.

Now, Papini faces the challenge of repaying the substantial restitution amount while also rebuilding her life after serving time in federal prison. Her story serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of deceit and the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions. Despite the hardships she has faced as a result of her actions, Papini is committed to fulfilling her legal obligations and making amends for the harm caused to those involved in her case. As she moves forward from this chapter in her life, Papini will have to navigate the challenges of reintegrating into society and rebuilding trust with those around her.

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