A deceptive beauty queen who allegedly faked cancer to get rich off donations is due in court on Wednesday to face charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
Brandi Weaver-Gates, 23, was stripped of her Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International 2015 crown after allegedly lying about having leukemia and scamming thousands of dollars from people who donated to help her, the New York Daily News stated. Police suspect she misled at least 165 people through her phony fundraisers, the report added.
"There are many people out there that have family, friends and neighbors that are affected by some form of cancer," State Police Trooper Thomas Stock was quoted in a related THV-11 article. "And unfortunately you have some people out there that take advantage of that."
Each person who was cheated equals one count of theft, and Weaver-Gates could face a prison sentence of seven years for each count as more and more people are coming forward, THV-11 added.
Her two-year fraud became so large that she misled her own family, shaved her head and would disappear for hours in hospitals while she supposedly received treatment, the Daily News reported.
An anonymous letter revealed her scam to police who researched her story and discovered that she could not name doctors who had helped her, and the hospitals where she had supposedly gone had no record of her, THV-11 added.
Weaver-Gates has been jailed since August and is currently held in lieu of $150,000 bail, according to the Daily News.
"I don't think she wants to come out," trooper Stock said to THV-11. "People here are up in arms. There could be problems when she is freed."