A former Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International pageant winner is facing felony charges, accused of lying about having cancer. Police arrested 23-year-old Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates on Tuesday August 11th and charged her with theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
Police say she told people she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Police say fundraisers were held to help her with her medical bills. The most recent fundraiser, a Bingo for Brandi event, was held in April. It raised $14,000.
According to reports, the state police began investigating Weaver-Gates after an anonymous letter said she was “faking” cancer.
Weaver-Gates told the Centre Daily Times in April of 2014 at the Relay for Life at Penn State, that she became cancer-free in October of 2013, but later in the year she got news that 5% of the cancer cells were back.
State police say there is no evidence that Weaver-Gates ever had treatment for cancer.
As for Weaver-Gates’ beauty queen title, the pageant directors said they are shocked by the allegations and plan on stripping the title from her.
Pageant organizers issued the following statement Wednesday morning:
“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.
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.”