Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 10:58 UK

Promoter admits to Braxton scam

Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton is best known for her 1996 hit Un-Break My Heart

A concert promoter in Suriname has admitted that he tried to pass off another singer as US star Toni Braxton at a gig in the South American country.

Angel Ventura's lawyer said he told a judge that people were charged $53 (£35) to see a Braxton impersonator.

The February show came to an end when American Trina Johnson-Finn was booed off the stage and pelted with rubbish.

The Las Vegas entertainer faces trial for fraud on 26 May in the Surinamese capital, and blames Mr Ventura.

Ms Johnson-Finn, 40, who is in custody in the country's capital Paramaribo, says she did not know she was advertised as the real Braxton.

'Scapegoat'

Prosecutors say the Las Vegas-based singer "deliberately presented herself" as Grammy-winner Braxton, who is best known for her 1996 hit Un-Break My Heart.

But Ms Johnson-Finn's husband, Raymond Finn, told the Associated Press that she often impersonated singing stars as a "tribute artist".

Mr Finn said his wife had been duped by Mr Ventura, of Events for Suriname.

Tina Johnson-Finn
An internet campaign in support of Tina Johnson-Finn is under way

He said his wife had been hired to perform a tribute act at a private party and had promoted Ms Johnson-Finn as the real Toni Braxton without her knowledge, Mr Finn added.

He said his wife had been arrested and put in custody "to appease public anger".

"Trina's been isolated there for two months," he said.

"She doesn't understand why she's being used as a scapegoat."

Ms Johnson-Finn's lawyer Kathleen Brandon said: "She has done no wrong so it is difficult for her to spend so much time in jail to await the start of the trial."

But prosecutor Duncan Nanhoe said Mr Ventura's admission did not necessarily clear Ms Johnson-Finn.



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