Veterans' Charity Director Found Guilty Of Stealing More Than $900K
Washington, DC. – The former director of a military veteran charity stole approximately $900,000 from the nonprofit in order to fund her shopping habits and business ventures, a jury determined on Thursday.
Patricia Driscoll, ex-girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, was convicted of two counts of tax evasion, two counts of wire fraud, and one count of first-degree fraud in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutor Jessie Liu announced, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“The jury did not get it right — Patricia Driscoll is innocent,” her attorney, Brian Stolarz, argued after the jury’s ruling. “We are very disappointed by the verdict and the government’s misconduct in this case. We will appeal. This is not the final chapter to this story.”
The Armed Forces Foundation, which was established in 2001, aimed to assist military veterans through outdoor activities to help promote their physical and emotional health, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The nonprofit organization also provided small grants to help needy veterans with bills.
Driscoll, 40, had served as the charity’s director for 12 years when she resigned in July of 2015, in the midst of the scandal.
According to 2015 tax records, the organization alleged that Driscoll had stolen over $900,000 since 2006.
The charity reported a revenue of approximately $44 million during the same time frame.
Driscoll was federally indicted on eight counts in September of 2016.
Prosecutors said she failed to report fundraising commissions she had paid to herself, falsified donors, and falsified donations.
She also used the veterans’ funds to take herself on shopping trips, and spent over $65,000 to pay for legal fees in connection with her accusations of domestic violence against Busch.
According to federal investigators, Driscoll attempted to cover up the thefts.
She also told donors that 95 percent of the money they contributed would go to help veterans and their families, even though she was well aware that only a fraction of their donations would ever reach those in need.
“Driscoll... falsely categorized and caused others to falsely categorize expenses in the Armed Forces Foundation’s books and records as being for the benefit of the veterans, troops, and their families, when, in fact, they were for her own private benefit,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Armed Forces Foundation announced it was shutting down shortly after Driscoll was indicted.
Three of the federal charges against Driscoll were dismissed prior to the start of the trial.
The jury was deadlocked on two other counts.
Driscoll’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for March, FOX News reported.
She faces a minimum of five years for each count of tax evasion, and a maximum of 20 years for each count of wire fraud.
First-degree fraud carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.