A beauty queen who conned thousands of dollars out of friends and family by pretending she had cancer is “truly sorry”,
The current Miss Pennsylvania International US, Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, convinced her parents, family and friends she had chronic lymphocytic leukemia in March 2013.
The 23-year-old pocketed cash from fundraisers organised by her loved ones to pay for her fake treatment, the last of which, a bingo event, raised $14,000 (£8,948).
Now the disgraced beauty queen has promised to pay all the money back, she said in a statement through her lawyer.
Attorney Deb Lux was quoted in The Centre Daily Times as saying:
“She’s liberated from the lies she’s been living. She’s truly sorry.She asks for forgiveness, although she understands many won’t find it in their hearts to do so.
The student made friends and family drive her to hospital appointments, leaving them to wait for up to eight hours for her while she went elsewhere.She posted images on Facebook showing her wearing bandages and surgical masks and with a shaved head.
She also gave extensive newspaper interviews about her cancer and even posted less than three weeks ago about being in remission.
Her fraud was only exposed after police received an anonymous tip-off saying she could not name a single one of her doctor.
State Police Trooper Thomas Stock contacted the hospitals at which Weaver-Gates said she was treated for her cancer – but there was no mention of her anywhere in their records.
A friend of hers posted on Facebook about her feelings of betrayal on learning Weaver-Gates was a fraud.
“I personally stayed up countless of nights crying my eyes out for her. Countless of hours praying for her. And COUNTLESS of times waiting up for her “after an appointment” doing all the cleaning because she felt “sick” crying along side her time and time again because she had cancer. GIVING HER MONEY. Disgusted. Dumb founded. Hurt. Furious. Hate. Those are just a very VERY few words I can think up to describe this right now.”
Weaver-Gates is being held in the Centre County Correctional Facility after she was charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property.
The pageant is taking the news seriously too, pulling her Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International title.She will be required to return her crown and sash upon her release from being detained.”