CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. —A former Pennsylvania beauty queen accused of faking cancer for cash waived her right to a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning in Centre County. An attorney for 23-year old Brandi Weaver-Gates released a statement on her behalf, apologizing for her actions and asking for forgiveness. The attorney also said Weaver-Gates plans to pay back all of the money.
Authorities accused Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International, of faking cancer in an elaborate scheme that raised thousands of dollars.
According to police Weaver-Gates lead everyone to believe that she had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in March 2013.
In the years since, she took part in fundraisers to pay for her treatment. Police said the most recent event was held in April and raised $14,000.
A police investigation found no evidence that Weaver-Gates had ever been under a doctor’s care for cancer. State Police Trooper Thomas Stock called her efforts to make people believe she had cancer “an elaborate scheme,” and said Weaver-Gates would have relatives drive her to Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. They would wait in the lobby for hours for her return, while she went to another part of the hospital.
An anonymous letter to police tipped them off to the scheme.
“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 said in a release.
Weaver-Gates is being held in the Centre County Correctional Facility after she was charged with felony counts of theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
The pageant pulled her Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International title.