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.

The fraud scheme lasted from March of 2016 to August of 2020.Garrett faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.

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