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BOWLING GREEN, OH (Toledo News Now) -
A North Baltimore woman who admitted to lying about having cancer, in order to receive donations for medical bills, was sentenced Friday in Wood County Common Pleas Court.
In May, Kimberlie Gustwiller pleaded guilty to lying about having cancer and receiving thousands of dollars in donations from her community. She claimed she had cancer for the second time. She died her hair pink and shaved her head, leaving just a mohawk and fooling an entire community. Police say she stole nearly $9,000 total.
Now, people who raised the money on her behalf say the joke is on her.
"North Baltimore is not a wealthy community, but it is rich in generous and giving people. And these people opened up their hearts, minds, and wallets to someone who was in need," said North Baltimore Police Chief Allen Baer.
Gustwiller said she was lost, battling addiction when she told a lie that she says got out of control.
"I made the mistake of lying to hide what I was truly battling: a life of addiction. I knew I needed help, but my fear of losing my children stopped me from seeking the help that I needed," said Gustwiller.
The judge told her what she did was a slap in the face to anyone who had cancer. He also said he could not tell if she was sincerely sorry about what she did. He held up fliers reminding her how family and friends rallied behind her when they thought she needed it most.
"How cruel could you possibly be to tell that to your kids?" said Judge Alan Mayberry.
Gustwiller was sentenced to nine months behind bars. She also has to pay back more than $4,600 to organizations and people who donated. Mayberry said he wishes he could have given a harsher sentence.