A Pennsylvania beauty queen is facing serious jail time after she was caught lying about having cancer.
Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, 23, fooled her entire community into believing that she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2013. According to Daily Mail, she has since been the benefactor of a series of fundraisers, the most recent of which raised over $14,000 for her treatment. Weaver-Gates instead pocketed all the donations that were raised for her.
The Penn State student first told her family and friends of her diagnosis two years ago, telling them that doctors said she had chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
“I didn’t know how to tell my family and even though they were there through it all, it still feels like (you’re) battling it alone because they don’t understand,” she told the Centre County Gazette in an interview last year.
Over the next few years, Weaver-Gates had various relatives, including her sister, drive her to top cancer hospitals for treatment. She would then have them wait in the lobby for up to eight hours while she hit in the hospital. Weaver-Gates, who was crowned Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International this past April, even shaved her head to make it look like she was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
An investigation was launched into the beauty queen’s claims earlier this year, when police received an anonymous tip saying that she was lying. Authorities found that there was no evidence that Weaver-Gates had been treated for cancer by any medical facility. The tipster told police that when pressed, Weaver-Gates would not name any specific doctor who treated her.
Weaver-Gates was arrested on Tuesday and charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property. She is currently being held on $150,000 bond. After her arrest, the Miss Pennsylvania organization announced that they would be stripping her of her title.
“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,” the organization said in a statement.
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