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Branson musician pleads guilty to creating fake charity

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) – Federal prosecutors for Missouri say a Branson performer has pleaded guilty to a count of wire fraud, admitting in court that he created a fake charity for foster children to bilk his audience members of thousands of dollars.

Prosecutors say in a news release that 65-year-old James Patrick Garrett pleaded guilty Thursday to the count, which says he stole more than $85,000 over several years.

Garrett for years performed the John Denver Tribute at the Branson IMAX theater. In 2012, Garrett created a company purportedly to provide housing, education, food and other needs to displaced children, and asked audience members at each of his six-day-a-week shows to donate.

Prosecutors say Garrett used the money to eat out, pay off credit cards and pay rent and taxes.

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