California Woman, Husband Paid Off Credit Cards With Nearly $50,000 GoFundMe Donations to Kidnapping Hoax?

The woman, Sherri Papini, is suspected of staging her own 2016 kidnapping.

A California woman and her husband allegedly paid off personal credit cards with money raised through a GoFundMe page. Sherri Papini and her husband Keith 'used nearly $50,000 in donations to pay off their credit cards and contribute to personal expenses. The mom has been accused of staging her 2016 kidnapping, which was a shocking three-week disappearance of the young mother, who went out for a run near her suburban home in Redding, California that caught international attention and an outpouring of public support. Papini, 39, was arrested by authorities on Thursday, according to the New York Post.

California federal prosecutors claims in court documents that Papini used $49,070 of the money donated through the "Bring Sherri Home Safe" page on GoFundMe, for credit card debt and other personal expenses. Moreover, in 2020, investigators found a familial DNA match to samples taken from Sherri's clothes while she faked her kidnap in 2016. It was her ex-boyfriend, who knew about her ruse apart from her husband Keith.

"Thank you so much everyone for your donations," Keith Papini wrote on the GoFundMe page on five days after reporting his wife was missing on November 7, 2016. "Your generosity, concern and prayers are greatly appreciated by the Papini family," the message further read.

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On December 6, one month later, the woman's husband extracted $31,818.13 from the GoFundMe account, according to prosecutors, who added that much of the amount was used to pay off their credit card debt. The rest of the donations were spent on personal expenses and transferred into the couple's bank accounts.

Papini is currently locked up in the Sacramento County Jail and her lawyer says she cannot eat. She appeared in a virtual court hearing over Zoom call before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremy Peterson on Friday and was told to remain in custody until her next hearing on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.