There she waves, in jail. A Pennsylvania beauty queen, Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, has been accused of allegedly faking her cancer to scam people out of thousands of dollars.
Weaver-Gates, 23, was jailed this week after she was charged with felony counts of theft by deception and receiving stolen property. According to police (via CNN), the Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International winner had convinced friends and family — including her sister — that she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2013.
Police told CNN that Weaver-Gates would have family members drive her to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., for her supposed cancer treatments, and even shaved her head to dupe everyone. This past April, she held one of many fundraisers, "Bingo for Brandi," which supposedly raised $14,000.
"It speaks to how great our community is," Weaver-Gates told the Centre County Gazette. "They wanted to come and support someone who is going through a hard time in their life."
Her bond was set at $150,000, at the Centre County Correctional Facility, where she remains jailed, NBC News reported.
The investigation opened after police received an anonymous letter. "When confronted with what the investigation revealed, the accused advised that she did not want to incriminate herself and invoked her right to an attorney," police told NBC News in a statement.
Following her arrest, the organizers behind Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International released a statement via Facebook saying Weaver-Gates was stripped of her title. "We at Butler’s Beauties are saddened to hear of the news of Miss Brandy Weaver-Gates. We were also led to believe that she was dealing with this horrible disease and stood by her as she struggled being a beauty queen and a cancer patient," the statement read.
"Butler’s Beauties believes that with a crown and sash you can accomplish many great things as a role model, spokesmodel and community leader as a beauty pageant queen. When you deceive the public and take people’s money that is under the pretense of fraud, we will not tolerate those actions. Our hearts go out to those affected by cancer and to those who were taken advantage of by Miss Weaver-Gates. Effectively immediately, Ms. Weaver-Gates is no longer a representative of the Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International organization and will be required to return her crown and sash upon her release from being detained."
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