A woman has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for catfishing a Florida boy using her own daughter’s photos.
In October 2019, 45-year-old Linda Paolini pleaded guilty to manufacturing child pornography and online enticement of a minor for tricking a Florida teen into believing he was interacting with a 16-year-old girl, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced Monday.
The pedophile sent images of her own daughter to the boy to convince the teen that he was dealing with someone his age, prompting him to send her videos of himself masturbating, New York Post reports. The woman also faked a suicide while talking to the teen online, which led to the boy attempting to kill himself along with her. Between the two, more than 50,000 messages were sent. Paolini would use Instagram to send content to the boy.
“This defendant’s criminal conduct was so heinous and cold-hearted that it almost defies description,” First Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a statement. “She malicious[ly] manipulated a child into making and sending her pornography of himself. But that was not enough for this defendant.”
Paolini said she participated in the pedophilic acts because it boosted her own ego. She says she preyed on at least two other boys as well, according to authorities. “Linda Paolini sexually exploited a boy the same age as her teen daughter,” said Michael Driscoll, the FBI special agent in charge at its Philadelphia division. “Today’s sentence ensures she is held accountable for the considerable damage done and keeps her from victimizing anyone else’s child.”
Federal agents arrested Paolini, who is from Northeast Philadelphia, in January 2019. Prosecutors said the woman was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release and is ordered to pay more than $15,000 in fines.