August 12, 2015 11:41 AM EDT

Police have arrested a Pennsylvania pageant winner who is accused of faking her cancer diagnosis for years.

Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates, the 23-year-old former Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International from Bellefonte, Pa., is facing felony charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property after telling people she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, CNN affiliate WJAC reports.

Police Trooper Thomas Stock, who investigated the alleged deception, said Weaver-Gates created “an elaborate scheme” that included taking money from fundraising events organized to help her pay for treatment costs; one event raised $14,000.

Weaver-Gates would have relatives drive her to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Medicine and then make them wait in the lobby while she went to another part of the hospital before emerging hours later, Stock said. But none of the facilities she said she received treatment at, including two other medical centers, reported her as a patient.

Police were tipped off about Weaver-Gates, who claims she broke the news of her diagnosis in 2013, by an anonymous letter that said she wasn’t able to name any of her doctors when asked.

Weaver-Gates did not immediately return TIME’s request for a comment.


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