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Former Branson Performer Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

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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 for dining out, to pay off credit cards and to pay rent and taxes.