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Beauty Queen jailed for scamming donors with fake cancer diagnosis

A former Miss Pennsylvania title-holder has been sentenced to prison after being found guilty for defrauding donors, who believed the beauty queen was chronically ill with leukaemia.
Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, 24, has been sentenced to at least two years jail, and five years of probation for her crimes, which included multiple charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
According People magazine, the ex-beauty pageant winner tricked more than 150 people into donating more than $40,000 through various fundraising events.
The most recent of these events, ‘Bingo for Brandi’ was held in April 2015, where it is reported Weaver-Gates took ‘donations’ for $19,000.
The scam, which began in March 2013, started with Weaver-Gates telling friends and family, including her sister, that she was receiving treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia at various hospitals in the Baltimore area.
According to the District Attorney's statement, Weaver-Gates went as far as shaving her head and having family members drive her to John Hopkins Hospital to get ‘faux’ treatment.
Keeping up the ruse, Weaver-Gates would walk around the hospital, only to emerge later walking the halls, as if she’d undergone chemotherapy.
In a statement, Weaver-Gates said she had used a wheelchair at times, and even had people carry her over the finish line of a race, pretending to be fatigued from her disease and posted it on Facebook.”
Stacy Parks Miller, Centre County District Attorney told People magazine the ex-beauty queen’s motive was just “plain greed and selfishness”.
Having gained attention for her condition, her supporters raised money for her door-to-door, and would throw fundraisers in her name.
But those close to Weaver-Gates became suspicious as she’d always insist on receiving her treatments alone, and maintaining her own bank account where the funds were being deposited.
Investigations into hospital records showed no record of Weaver-Gates’ treatment, or of her having ever been a patient.
In her defence, Weaver-Gates’ attorney said the former pageant winner had carried out her elaborate scheme because “she wanted attention”.
A psychological evaluation has revealed there was nothing wrong with Weaver-Gates.
“She wasn’t working. She was living off the money,” said Miller.
At the hearing for sentencing, Miller pointed out that “the attention, charity work and money that went to her was stolen from real warriors battling cancer, some who have in fact passed.” As part of her sentence, Weaver Gates must repay the $30,000.
So far, Weaver Gates has spent nearly a year in jail since she was arrested in August 2015. This time will be credited toward her sentence, authorities said.
In the wake of the scandal, Miss Pennsylvania US International have announced that Weaver-Gates had been stripped of her crown and sash.