Woman, 45, gets 35 years in prison for using pictures of her own daughter to coerce 16-year-old boy into sending her explicit videos and for getting him to attempt suicide in fake ‘pact’
- Linda Paolini, from Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to manufacturing child pornography and online enticement of a minor
- Federal prosecutors say Paolini used a photo of her own 16-year-old daughter to ‘catfish’ a Florida boy of the same age on Instagram
- Paolini manipulated the teen into sending her videos of himself masturbating
- Paolini also faked a suicide attempt to coerce victim into trying to take his own life ‘in solidarity’ with her
A Philadelphia mother has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for ‘catfishing’ a 16-year-old boy by pretending to be a teenage girl under the persona of her own daughter, manipulating the victim into sending her explicit videos and entering into a suicide pact with her.
Linda Paolini, 45, learned her fate on Monday, more than a year after after she pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacturing child pornography and once count of online enticement of a minor.
According to federal prosecutors, Paolini used Instagram to engage in sexually explicit exchanges with a 16-year-old Florida boy and coerce him to produce and send her videos of him masturbating.
Linda Paolini, 45, has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for ‘catfishing’ a 16-year-old boy by pretending to be her own teen daughter and manipulating him into sending her videos of himself masturbating
‘She did this by assuming the persona of a 16-year-old girl, sending the boy provocative images of her own daughter in order to manipulate him into thinking that an attractive, same-aged girl was in love with him,’ according to a statement from the Justice Department.
During an online video chat, Paolini faked a suicide attempt to manipulate the victim into trying to take his own life ‘in solidarity’ with her.
She and the victim exchanged over 50,000 messages over the course of a few months.
‘This defendant’s criminal conduct was so heinous and cold-hearted that it almost defies description,’ said First Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams. ‘She maliciously manipulated a child into making and sending her pornography of himself.
‘But that was not enough for this defendant. She then manipulated the vulnerable child into attempting suicide. As a result of this prosecution and today’s sentencing, she will be behind bars for decades and will no longer pose a danger to other children.’
Paolini also admitted to ‘catfishing’ at least two other boys.
The FBI launched an investigation into Paolini in 2019 after getting a phone tip about her online conduct.
Paolini’s sentence also calls for a lifetime of supervised release and a more than $15,000 in fines.