Ex-NASCAR girlfriend convicted of stealing from veterans’ charity

The former president of a veterans’ charity who was convicted last year of crimes related to spending the nonprofit’s money on jewelry, shopping and other personal expenses has been sentenced to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended pending appeal, according to court records.

Patricia Driscoll, 41, of Ellicott City, Maryland, was convicted in November of two counts of wire fraud and tax evasion and one count of first-degree fraud, court records show.

Driscoll led the nonprofit Armed Forces Foundation for 12 years. The charity was established in 2001 to promote the emotional and physical health of veterans through outdoor activities and to provide small grants to families in need.

Its co-founders included former California Representative Duncan L. Hunter, who helped recruit Driscoll to manage the nonprofit’s day-to-day operations. Hunter is the father of current Representative Duncan D. Hunter.

In addition to the year in prison, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered Driscoll to serve 36 months of supervised release and pay $154,289 in restitution.

The sentence has been suspended pending appeal, so Driscoll will not have to report to jail immediately.

Driscoll notified the court on September 26 of his intention to appeal the final judgment in his criminal trial, according to court records.

Brian Stolarz, a lawyer for Driscoll, said in a statement: ‘The court has imposed a thoughtful and thoughtful sentence based on the totality of the circumstances of this case and has stayed it pending appeal. With the reprieve, we can continue to seek justice for Mrs. Driscoll.

Driscoll, who made headlines after a messy breakup of her relationship with NASCAR driver Kurt Busch in 2014, argued the evidence against her was weak and there were trial errors and government misconduct. during his criminal investigation.

The Armed Forces Foundation reported in 2015 public tax filings that it found evidence that Driscoll spent more than $900,000 for personal purposes beginning in 2006.

His alleged wasteful expenses included personal errands, legal fees and paying bills for Driscoll’s private defense contracting firm, prosecutors said.

The charity said it had about $44 million in revenue over those years.

Hunter, the former U.S. congressman, had served as an unpaid member of the nonprofit’s board of directors as his public service career came to an end; at one time he was its president. He left the foundation in 2012.

Hunter was succeeded in the House by his son, Representative Duncan D. Hunter, who also promoted the foundation and attended its charity events after his election to Congress in 2008.

In an unrelated criminal proceeding, young Duncan Hunter and his wife and former campaign manager Margaret are facing criminal charges for their alleged personal use of more than $250,000 of Hunter’s political campaign funds.

Duncan and Margaret Hunter pleaded not guilty to all charges when arraigned last August. Margaret Hunter changed her guilty plea to a charge in June, while Duncan Hunter continues to fight the charges.

Hunter’s criminal trial is scheduled for January 14.

Neither the elder nor the younger Duncan Hunter immediately responded to a request for comment on Monday afternoon.

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