Patricia Driscoll awaiting her day in federal court for fraud

Photo by Jerry Jordan/Kickin' the Tires

By Jerry Jordan, Editor
DOVER, Del. – Three years ago, Patricia Driscoll illegally entered her then ex-boyfriend – 2004 NASCAR Champion – Kurt Busch’s motor coach at Dover International Speedway and later claimed he slammed her into a wall and choked her. Busch was exonerated when the Kent County, Delaware district attorney found there was no evidence to prove Driscoll’s allegation but now, Driscoll is one-year into a federal criminal indictment alleging she defraud the Armed Forces Foundation and used money committed to injured soldiers for personal gain.

Click for: Driscoll, Patricia – Indictment – Sept 20, 2016

Last year, Driscoll, who is the former executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation, told U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey she was not guilty on charges of first-degree fraud, attempting to interfere with the administration of IRS laws, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and two counts of attempted tax evasion or tax evasion. She faces up to multiple years prison if she is convicted.

According to court records, Driscoll’s attorney successfully sought a dismissal of one of the counts listed in the indictment. Per her attorney, Brian Stolarz, “On August 31, the Judge granted the motion in part and dismissed Count 1 (Attempt to Interfere with the Administration of Internal Revenue Laws).”

“As detailed below, the government has overcharged Ms. Driscoll in what, if anything, should have brought solely as a tax evasion case,” Stolarz wrote, in an omnibus brief filed in April. “First, Count One’s Section 7212 charge is contrary to Tax Division policy and is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad as applied.

“Count One charges that Ms. Driscoll violated 26 U.S.C. § 7212(a). That provision contains an “omnibus clause” which makes it a felony to “in any other way corruptly or by force or threats of force obstructs or impedes, or endeavors to obstruct or impede, the due administration of the title 26 U.S.C. §7212(a). The Indictment alleges that Ms. Driscoll committed eleven wrongful acts in furtherance of a corrupt scheme. The government’s use of Section 7212(a) in this case is contrary to its own policy. While the government’s failure to comply with its own guidelines does not alone support dismissal of Count One, see, e.g., United States v. Sorenson, 801 F.3d 1217, 1227 (10th Cir. 2015) (citing cases in the context of Section 7212(a) prosecution),4 that failure illuminates what this case is – and is not – about. In essence, the government has converted alleged omissions and incorrect categorizations of information on two tax forms into a corrupt scheme to obstruct an ongoing IRS proceeding.”

Stolarz also sought dismissal of the indicted counts two through eight but was unsuccessful in having them tossed.

In the year since she has been under indictment, the AFF has closed its doors and all remaining information in the offices was taken into custody by the FBI, according to court documents. The agency already had thousands of documents, files and financial records from Driscoll and the defunct charity but took possession and reduced to electronic images an additional 20 DVDs of scanned documents. Driscoll has moved on and is currently employed as a consultant for Tecore Networks, which specializes in scalable mobile technology via its commercial, government and military contracts. In April, Driscoll spoke on “Manhunt: Utilizing Technology, a Trade Craft in a Non-Permissive Environment” at Norwich University’s CSI Symposium.

Although it had not been placed on the court’s docket, it was expected Driscoll’s case would go to trial sometime in November but that has changed and a source at the U.S. Department of Justice said they believe the trial could begin in February. The source also stated numerous witnesses, even some from the NASCAR community, could be called during her trial. Several NASCAR personalities served on the AFF board of directors and others were involved in helping raise money they believed was being used to help soldiers. Driscoll ran the AFF for 12 years and court records show she is accused of stealing or using for personal gain, at least, $599,000.”

Financial records obtained by Kickin’ the Tires revealed she used the AFF’s credit card to buy jewelry from Tiffany & Co., groceries for her home, liquor for private parties, first-class airfare and other personal items. She also used money from the foundation to pay the debts for her private business, Frontline Defense Systems.

Attempts to obtain additional information from her attorney on courtroom strategy and which witnesses he intends to call were unsuccessful.

In a filing from Channing Phillips, the prosecutor in Driscoll’s case, stated she had provided Driscoll’s legal counsel chart showing what they believed were inflated entries in IRS 990 Forms and that prosecutors were focusing on donations listed in those documents.

“By our count, there are approximately 25 non-cash donations, listed by name and at times addresses in those returns,” Phillips wrote. “The 990s themselves were provided to you in discovery. Our position is that some of these listed items were fraudulent and the evidence of inflations/nonexistence is based on documentary evidence from the third party ‘donors.’”

Phillips stated the government had statements from the AFF’s former tax preparer, as well as, emails from Driscoll stating “your client was not satisfied with the original 2013 990 as written. She asked for various amounts to be increased. In contrast, many ‘donors’ have disputed the amounts, nature, or even the existence of the donations …”

In response to Stolarz request for information on evidence the government intends to use against Driscoll for providing false information to a tax accountant, Phillips stated, “Among other methods, you client failed to report the funds she embezzled from AFF, fraudulently reported to her tax account personal expenses of the FDS’ (Frontline Defense Systems’) Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) caused the preparation of AFF’s fraudulent Forms 990, including Schedule J (compensation) and Schedule L (Transactions with Interested Person for 2013). In addition, your client caused AFF to pay for her personal expenses, whether these expenses were authorized or not, to third-party creditors …”

A spokesperson for the government, William Miller, said prosecutors have no further comments on the case aside from what has been filed in the public record.

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