A Pennsylvania beauty queen was arrested on Tuesday, Aug. 11 and charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property, reports WJAC.
Brandi Weaver-Gates, a former Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International from Bellefonte, has been accused of faking a cancer diagnosis in order to raise money for false medical bills and treatments. According to court documents obtained by WJAC, Weaver-Gates told people she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Trooper Thomas Stock, the state police investigator, says it was all “an elaborate scheme.”
A scheme it appears that her entire family was involved with. Reportedly, family members drove her to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and waited in the lobby while she went to another part of the facility, emerging hours later in order to appear as if she received treatment. At one point, she even went as far as shaving her head, to look like a cancer patient. Patients undergoing chemotherapy often lose their hair.
Weaver-Gates held a number of fundraisers to raise money for her treatments ,with the most recent raising $14,000, according to authorities. Her plot was revealed by an anonymous letter, Stock told WJAC, adding that the beauty queen couldn’t name any of her doctors.
Following her arrest, the Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International organization released a statement:
“Butler’s Beauties is deeply saddened of this news of Miss Brandi Weaver-Gates. With being personally touched by cancer in our family, we donated and supported her as well as. Miss Weaver-Gates actions are not tolerated and unacceptable not just as a public figure but as a person,” the statement read. “We take seriously representing the state,and the legacy of Miss U.S. International. We forgive her, wish her well in the future even though is no longer a representative of the Miss PENNSYLVANIA U.S. International organization.”
A post on the organization’s website also stated that “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.”