Beauty queen Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates faked having cancer in order to benefit from the outpouring of support – primarily in the way of stuffing her evening gown with cash donated by bighearted devotees duped by her pitiable tale – sits in a Pennsylvania jail this week. She’s been stripped of her title, closely following the loss of her own dignity.
Writes CNN on Aug. 12: “Beauty pageant queens typically stand for things like, beauty, poise and intelligence. Press them just a bit and they’ll talk about world peace and the need to feed starving children.”
Not so with 23-year-old Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, who in 2013 spun a spurious story of woe, telling her fans and even family members that she was struggling with leukemia and collecting nearly $15,000 in donations for an illness that never existed. The Miss Pennsylvania 2015 U.S. International pageant winner is charged with “theft by deception” and “receiving stolen property.”
Described as an “elaborate scheme” by State Police Trooper Thomas Stock, Weaver-Gates even had family members drive her to the Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore for treatments of her “chronic lymphocytic leukemia.” The now tiara-less beauty queen would hang out in other parts of the hospital for an hour or so while her ride sat in the lobby, police said.
“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. She is being held in lieu of a $150K bond at another facility now – the Centre County Correctional Center.
Butler’s Beauties, the organization that sponsored the pageant, wrote about their disappointment on their Facebook page, stating that they are “saddened” to hear of their pageant winner’s deception and had “stood by her as she struggled being a beauty queen and a cancer patient.”
“When you deceive the public and take people’s money that is under the pretense of fraud, we will not tolerate those actions,” said the pageant organizers. “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.”
Adds NBC Philadelphia: “Police said Weaver-Gates went as far as shaving her head.” Police are asking that anyone who made a donation to step forward so investigators can file a claim against her for the return of the money.
They say beauty is only skin deep. For Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, this so-called beauty queen has certainly proven this to be true.