A former beauty queen, once crowned Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International, pleaded not guilty today to police allegations that she faked having cancer and stole tens of thousands of dollars donated to her.
Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates of State College, Pennsylvania, has been charged with felony counts of theft by deception and receiving stolen property and has been held on $150,000 bail at Centre County Correctional Facility since her arrest this summer, according to Centre County Court records.
She was arrested and stripped of her Miss Pennsylvania crown and title in August when investigators accused the 23-year-old of lying about battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia and fraudulently accepting monetary donations from at least four major fundraising events set up to help her pay for fabricated medical bills.
State Police Trooper Thomas Stock told ABC News in August that the ex-pageant queen fooled everyone, including her family. He said Weaver-Gates made her sister drive her to fake doctor appointments, fabricated medical bills and posted photos of herself with her head shaved bald as far back as 2013 on her social media.
Stock added that in his 14 years of policing, “I’ve never seen something like this.” Stock said that in her last major fundraiser alone in April of this year, “Bingo for Brandi,” Weaver-Gates raised upwards of $14,000.
The state trooper said Weaver-Gates was apprehended this summer after the police department “received an anonymous letter back at the end of June [or] beginning in July from an unknown person stating we should investigate this woman for faking cancer.”
“Apparently she didn’t know her doctors’ names and things of that nature,” Stock said.
Weaver-Gates’ attorney Deborah Lux previously told county newspaper Centre Daily in August that Weaver-Gates said she was “truly sorry” and that she “asks for forgiveness, although she understands many won’t find it in their hearts to do so.”
Lux added that Weaver-Gates promised to pay all the money back.
“I’m going to ask her to pursue mental health evaluation, not to pursue a mental infirmity defense, but hopefully to get insight for the court and the community as to why this happened,” Lux told Centre Daily.
Lux did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional comment today.
ABC News’ Nicole Pelletiere and Gio Benitez contributed to this report.