An Ohio man has been sentenced to two years in prison for pretending to be a long-missing child from Illinois.
According to ABC, U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett handed the sentence to 25-year-old Brian Michael Rini on Tuesday. He also received one year of probation.
“I wish that I could just take it back,” Rini said at the video hearing, apologizing for his actions. “I am sorry to the family.”
Rini pretended to be Timmothy Pitzen, who disappeared at the age of 6 in 2011. U.S. attorney Kyle Healey reprimanded Rini for causing “unnecessary pain” to Pitzen’s family.
“He needs to understand that when he tells lies like this, it does cause damage,” Healey said. “It hurts people, it hurts their families, and it takes law enforcement away from their very serious job of helping children who have been sex trafficked.”
DNA results proved that Rini wasn’t Pitzen, after he claimed to have escaped capture from a sex trafficker. The FBI told reporters Rini learned about the family on ABC’s show 20/20.
Since he’s been waiting in prison during the course of his case, Rini has already served most of his sentence and will be released in four months.