CINCINNATI (WJW) -- An Ohio man who claimed to be a child who disappeared at age 6 pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated identity theft and will serve two years in prison, minus time served.
Brian Michael Rini, 24, of Medina, will be on one year of probation to be served at the end of his sentence, U.S. Judge Michael Barrett told him. Rini will be credited for time served dating to his arrest April 4, 2019.
Prosecutors dropped charges of lying to FBI agents. Barrett ordered a presentencing investigation into Rini’s background, but both sides agreed that the federal identity theft statute requires a two-year sentence and that Rini will remain jailed without bond during the official sentencing.
Rini last year pleaded not guilty to identity theft and lying to FBI agents. He would have faced as many as eight years in prison if convicted of all charges.
TRUE CRIME DAILY: Timmothy Pitzen case coverage
Police said Rini was wandering the streets of Newport, Kentucky, last April 3. Police said he told them he was Timmothy Pitzen, an Aurora, Illinois, boy who disappeared in 2011 at age 6. Authorities said Rini claimed he had just escaped captors who sexually abused him.
Federal authorities said they were suspicious after he refused to be fingerprinted. DNA testing quickly revealed his true identity.
Rini had been released from a state prison last March after serving more than a year on burglary and vandalism charges. Prison records show he was accused of making up stories during his time there.
When confronted with the DNA results, Rini said he’d watched a story about Timmothy on ABC’s “20/20” and wanted to get away from his own family, the FBI said. Authorities said he twice earlier portrayed himself in Ohio as a juvenile victim of sex trafficking.
Timmothy vanished after his mother pulled him out of kindergarten, took him on a two-day road trip to the zoo and a water park, and then killed herself at a hotel. She left a note saying that her son was safe with people who would love and care for him, and added: “You will never find him.”