CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – A judge sentenced a Chattanooga woman to 42 months in prison for faking breast cancer and told her it was "reprehensible" that she took donations of sick leave, money and cancer patient support services for five years.
"It seems like to me some confinement is necessary," Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole said Monday after a four-hour hearing in which attorneys for 39-year-old Keele Maynor asked for a probation sentence that would allow her to work and pay about $54,000 in restitution.
Poole added 10 years of probation to the sentence for Maynor, a mother of three, and ordered her taken into custody immediately. She will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of the prison sentence. He ordered her to start making $300 monthly restitution payments after her release.
"I have problems with somebody who shaves their head and says they have cancer," Poole said.
Maynor cried at times while testifying that she is sorry for "hurting so many people." Maynor said she had felt unloved and carried out the terminal cancer scheme to get attention. She described herself a victim of emotional abuse as a teenager by her mother and sexual abuse by a stepbrother.
"I will spend the rest of my life trying to make my wrong right," she said.
Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston said the prison time was justified in Maynor's case that duped co-workers, friends, groups such as Breast Cancer Network of Strength, a church and high school football booster club.
Maynor in 2008 said in an e-mail when she left her job in the city's regional planning department that her claim of having cancer was a "charade." She pleaded guilty to theft and forgery as part of a deal with prosecutors.
The charade included Maynor getting more than $4,000 from a silent auction at a "black and pink" benefit that was held on her behalf. Maynor said she spent that money on Christmas presents for her children.
Sandra Hughes testified that she worked side by side with Maynor before retiring and helped raise money for her, including a bank account that Maynor could draw money from "whenever she needed to pay a bill."
"She would inform me if there were needs, financial needs " said Hughes, a breast cancer survivor who walked across the courtroom to Maynor and hugged her after testifying.