5 Accused Of Conspiring To Defraud Dolly Parton Relief Fund

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Five people have been charged with conspiring to defraud the My People Fund of Dolly Parton's Dollywood Foundation, set up to help people affected by wildfires in 2016.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported a Sevier County grand jury charged Debra Kay Catlett; her son, Chad Alan Chambers; Rocco Boscalia; Annie Lyons; and Esther Pridemore. The charges included money laundering, criminal conspiracy, and felony theft. An arraignment date had not been set.

Parton established the fund soon after the wildfires, which claimed 14 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

Dollywood Foundation President David Dotson said the fund helped 900 families with about $9 million in the first six months after the fires.

Records alleged the accused were able to take about $12,000 before being discovered.

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