Police in Pennsylvania have arrested a beauty queen after it was alleged that she faked having cancer.
Miss Pennsylvania champion, Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, of Bellefonte in the centre of the state, was charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
The 23-year-old allegedly would tell people she had been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and reportedly took money from events held on her behalf to fund her treatment.
Investigators told local news channel 6WJAC, that they believed she did not have cancer and called her efforts to make people believe she had it “an elaborate scheme”.
Trooper Thomas Stock, the state police investigator, said she would have relatives drive her to the hospital for treatment, wait inside and return hours late to make it appear she had been undergoing treatment.
He said the allegations came to light via an anonymous letter that claimed she couldn’t name any of her doctors.
She is also alleged to have told people she was a patient at two other medical centres which have said they had never heard of her.
Police say her most recent event was “Bingo for Brandi” in April which raised $14,000 but she was having events organised in her honour as far back as September 2013, according to the Centre Daily Times.
In September 2013 a man named Jerry King, who lost two uncles to leukaemia, organised a $10 a head fundraiser for her called “Brandi’s Benefit Bash”.
Since her arrest on Tuesday, commentators have overwhelmed her Facebook page saying they feel betrayed by the allegations.
One said: “I hope Brandi can find a solution and an answer to her reasoning behind this fiasco.”
Another alleged that her pictures of her treatment had been removed from her profile page.
The Miss Pennsylvania pageant organisers, Butler’s Beauties, said in a statement on its Facebook page: “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.
“Effective 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.”
Ms Weaver-Gates is due in court next week.Reuse content