2 sentenced to prison for hoax kidnapping

URBANA - In an update to a story WAND has been following since 2014, a woman at the center of a hoax kidnapping and one of her alleged kidnappers were sentenced to prison time on Monday.

According to U.S. States Attorney James Lewis, Monica Ramirez, 20, received 18 months in prison and Eduardo Cortez, 26, received 10 months in prison.  In addition, both Ramirez and Cortez were ordered to pay $45,374 in restitution to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Champaign Police Department, the Champaign County Sheriff's Office, and the Champaign County State's Attorney for the time, resources, and expenses spent in investigating the hoax kidnapping.

Authorities say Ramirez pleaded guilty on December 14, 2014 to conspiracy to provide law enforcement with false statements, making false statements to law enforcement, and making false statements to a federal grand jury.  On December 19, 2014, Cortez pleaded guilty to the conspiracy.  The third defendant, Jarbey Villalobos, 19, pleaded guilty on February 15, 2015.  Villalobos is scheduled to be sentenced on May 29.

Authorities say Ramirez, Cortez, and Villalobos plotted the kidnapping in order to conceal the fact that Ramirez wanted to be with Cortez, when her family members didn't approve of the decision.

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