A “cold-hearted” Philadelphia woman who catfished a Florida boy using racy photos of her own daughter has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.
Linda Paolini, 45, pleaded guilty in October 2019 to manufacturing child pornography and online enticement of a minor for using social media to trick the Florida teen into believing he was actually messaging a 16-year-old girl, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced Monday.
As part of her sick scheme, Paolini sent the boy images of her own daughter to make him believe an attractive 16-year-old girl was romantically interested in him, prompting him to send videos of himself masturbating, federal prosecutors said.
Paolini later faked a suicide attempt during an online video chat, causing the teen to try to kill himself in an act of solidarity with her, prosecutors said.
“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 used Instagram to send the explicit content to the boy. The pair exchanged more than 50,000 messages over the course of several months, NBC Philadelphia reported.
Paolini’s “predatory” actions were motivated only by her own gratification and she also admitted sending similar messages to at least two other boys, authorities said.
“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.”
Paolini, formerly of Northeast Philadelphia, was arrested by federal agents in January 2019, WPVI reported.
She was also sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release and ordered by a judge to pay more than $15,000 in fines, prosecutors said Monday.
Philly mom who catfished Florida boy gets 35 years in prison The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.