Authorities believe beauty queen Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates went to great lengths to fake cancer for two years, during which time she accepted thousands of dollars in donations from the public. She was arrested this week and charged with the felony counts of theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
State police investigator Thomas Stock told WJAC Brandi, 23, told people she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in March 2013. She fooled family members by shaving her head and having them drive her to John Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, where she asked them to wait a few hours while she pretended to get treatment. Neither that facility nor any of the others she claimed to get treatment from have any record of her as a patient.
She benefitted from public fundraisers, too, including a “Bingo for Brandi” event in April where she allegedly pocketed $14,000 in donations. She also deceived Butler’s Beauties, the organizers behind the Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International pageant.
“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,” a spokesperson told WJAC yesterday. “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.”
The representative said they are retracting Brandi’s title “effective immediately” and ask she return her crown and sash “upon her release from being detained.” She remains in custody at the Centre County Correctional Facility.