CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal judge Tuesday sentenced an apologetic Ohio man to two years behind bars and one year of probation for falsely claiming to be a long-missing Illinois child.
Brian Michael Rini, who is now 25, said he was sorry during the video hearing before U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett made his sentence official.
Barrett told Rini earlier this year he faced a mandatory two-year sentence, but the judge wanted to see results of a presentencing investigation before entering his sentence. Rini gets credit for time served, so he will be released on probation in less than four months.
The judge said Rini should receive mental health treatment and counseling, have no contact with the missing boy’s family and can’t have drugs or guns.
Rini earlier pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors dismissed two other charges. Rini, of Medina, Ohio, was arrested by FBI agents in April 2019.
He signed a court document admitting he claimed he was Timmothy Pitzen, an Aurora, Illinois, boy who disappeared at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells at age 6 in 2011.
Rini had shown up in northern Kentucky claiming to be Pitzen. He told authorities he had just escaped captors who sexually and physically abused him for years.
Confronted with DNA results proving he wasn’t Pitzen, Rini said he had watched a story about the missing boy on ABC’s “20/20” and wanted to get away from his own family, the FBI said.
Rini’s DNA was already on file because of his criminal record. He served time for burglary and vandalism.
Rini twice portrayed himself in Ohio as a juvenile victim of sex trafficking and in each case was identified after being fingerprinted, authorities have said.
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