updated 1/17/2004 11:53:09 AM ET 2004-01-17T16:53:09

A woman who accepted $6,400 in donations after shaving her head and dyeing her skin to make it appear she had cancer has been sentenced to three days in jail and three years of probation.

Katrina Combs’ ruse went on for about three years before a co-worker raised concerns to police, said Mindy Baily, Combs’ former boss at a nursing facility.

“We had a community-wide chili supper in 2001, and we were having bake sales every week and giving her the proceeds,” Bailey said.

Combs, 31, said she felt she couldn’t come clean after taking the money.

“I only took money once, and after that, I felt like I couldn’t tell them,” Combs said at her sentencing Thursday. “I used the money for bills, but I never bought anything for myself or my family.”

Under her sentence, she must return the donations, pay a $500 fine and also serve 400 hours of community service.

In a similar case in the same small central Ohio town, a woman pleaded guilty in August to theft and endangering a child for receiving $31,000 in donations after she shaved her daughter’s hair and gave her sleeping pills to make it appear that the girl was receiving chemotherapy.

Teresa Milbrandt was sentenced to 6½ years in prison. Her husband, Robert Milbrandt, received four years and 11 months, though he didn’t admit a role in the hoax.

Urbana, 50 miles west of Columbus, has about 11,500 residents.

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