Patricia Driscoll

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Ex-girlfriend of Kurt Busch sentenced to prison for fraud, tax evasion

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Patricia Driscoll, former girlfriend of Kurt Busch, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison Thursday in U.S. District Court for her role in which she stole from a non-profit charity designed to help military members and their families.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon also ordered Driscoll to serve 36 months supervised release, a period of home confinement, 360 hours of community service, and to pay $154,289 in restitution and $81,779 in a money judgment forfeiture.

The sentence has been stayed pending appeal, meaning Driscoll will not have to report to prison at this time.

Brian Stolarz, attorney for Driscoll, said in a statement: “The court issued a thoughtful and considered sentence based on the totality of the circumstances in this case and stayed it pending appeal. With the stay, we can continue to pursue justice for Ms. Driscoll.”

A federal jury convicted Driscoll on Nov. 29, 2018, on two counts each of wire fraud and tax evasion and one count of fraud. Driscoll was the former executive director and president of Armed Forces Foundation and developed ties with the NASCAR community.

Prosecutors stated in court documents that Driscoll “solicited donations to AFF by making representations that 95% of donations would go to benefit military members and their families, when she knew that she was diverting significant portions of AFF’s funds to pay for her personal expenses, such as her personal attorneys’ fees, her personal property tax, and her for-profit company’s expenses.”

Prosecutors recommended Driscoll be sentenced for 70-87 months and pay a judgment of $472,954, stating in court documents: “The Court saw the tremendous harm that the defendant’s conduct caused: not only did the defendant’s embezzlement from AFF deprive countless veterans of benefits that AFF would have otherwise provided to them, but the defendant’s lies and misrepresentations so disillusioned donors and volunteers that AFF was unable to continue its mission. This is not a case where the defendant’s lack of education, resources, or training contributed to the offense; rather, this is a case where the defendant perpetrated a fraud to support her ego and lavish lifestyle.”

The Armed Forces Foundation shut down in 2016.

Driscoll and Busch broke up in 2014. She alleged afterward that he slammed her head against the wall in his motor home three times in September 2014 at Dover International Speedway.

NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Feb. 20, 2015 — two days before the Daytona 500 — after a Kent County (Delaware) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not” Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against Driscoll at Dover. NASCAR reinstated Busch a few days after the Delaware attorney general declined to seek charges against Busch in March. Busch missed three races while suspended.

 

Ex-girlfriend of Kurt Busch found guilty of fraud, tax evasion

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A jury found Patricia Driscoll, ex-girlfriend of Kurt Busch, guilty on five counts of fraud, tax evasion and theft charges Friday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

Driscoll, former executive director and president of the Armed Forces Foundation, was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud (federal offenses), two counts of tax evasion (federal offenses) and one count of first-degree fraud (a District of Columbia offense).

The wire fraud charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. Tax evasion carries a statutory maximum of five years. First-degree fraud carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison.

A jury made its decision after four days of deliberations.

Sentencing is scheduled for mid-March 2019.

Driscoll’s attorney, Brian Stolarz, stated to NBC Sports: “The jury did not get it right – Patricia Driscoll is innocent. 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 wire fraud charges stem from a May 2015 indictment in the joint IRS-FBI investigation that she used forged documents, false accounting entries and inflated donation amounts “in order to convince donors to give money to the (Armed Forces Foundation), thereby enriching herself.”

The tax evasion counts stem from the May 2015 indictment that she diverted funds from the Armed Forces Foundation to her personal bank account, diverted funds from the AFF to her business, used AFF money to pay personal bills and bills for her business. The tax evasion charges are for tax years 2012 and 2013.

The fraud charge in the May 2015 indictment stated she purported to approve “an additional $3,000 per month payment to herself, to pay for such items as her car, gas, cell phone.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia stated Friday that “she failed to include the fact that she received commissions from fundraising, the amounts of commissions that she received from fundraising, and the other benefits that she received. Driscoll also 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. Driscoll also concealed from the foundation’s accountants the money she took from the charity, such as rent that was paid for the use of office space in a building that she co-owned.

The Armed Forces Foundation shut down in 2016.

Click here to read 2015 indictment against Patricia Driscoll

The case went to trial in October.

Driscoll and Busch broke up in 2014. She alleged afterward that he slammed her head against the wall in his motor home three times in September 2014 at Dover International Speedway.

NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Feb. 20, 2015 — two days before the Daytona 500 — after a Kent County (Delaware) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not” Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against Driscoll at Dover. NASCAR reinstated Busch a few days after the Delaware attorney general declined to seek charges against Busch in March. Busch missed three races while suspended.

 

Judge upholds protection order against Kurt Busch

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Kent County Family Court Judge Williams Walls has upheld a protection order put in place against Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch, according to the Wilmington (Del.) News-Journal.

The protection order was requested by ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll, who alleged that Busch grabbed her throat and slammed her head three times into the wall of his motorhome Sept. 26 in the infield of Dover International Speedway.

The Delaware Attorney General didn’t pursue criminal charges against Busch, citing a lack of evidence.

The Sprint Cup Series will hold its first race Sunday at Dover since the incident, which occurred during the most recent race weekend.

“At its core, this case involves an incident between Busch and Driscoll. The case shows that two people can remember, and interpret, the same situation in different ways. The parties agree on little,” Walls wrote in his decision. “However, the undisputed portions of the evidence establish that the parties had a tense discussion on September 26, 2014. In the middle of that discussion, Busch moved unnecessarily close to Driscoll, placed his hands on her face and knocked Driscoll’s head against a wall.”

The original decision to institute the protection order was made in February by Commissioner David Jones. The order stipulates that Busch must keep a “practicable” distance from Driscoll at NASCAR events while staying 100 yards from her and her home and workplace.

The decision comes after an ESPN report last week that scrutinized Driscoll’s work with the Armed Forces Foundation.

Attorney: Kurt Busch to ‘immediately’ appeal NASCAR suspension

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Kurt Busch’s attorney said he plans to “immediately” appeal NASCAR’s suspension of his client.

NASCAR indefinitely suspended Busch on Friday after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not’’ that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, in September.

NASCAR said that Busch could appeal the suspension and that it would “expedite” the process. A ruling on the appeal likely will come before Sunday’s Daytona 500.

Busch’s appeal will be heard on Saturday by a three-member panel. He cannot have a lawyer argue the cause on his behalf, but can have other representatives with him during the hearing. Additionally, Busch can appeal the panel’s decision to Bryan Moss, Final Appeals Officer.

Rusty Hardin, Busch’s attorney, issued the following statement:

“We are extremely disappointed that NASCAR has suspended Kurt Busch and we plan an immediate appeal. We assure everyone, including NASCAR, that this action against Mr. Busch will turn out to be a travesty of justice, apparent to all, as this story continues to unfold.

“We are confident that if the Commissioner agrees to hear newly available evidence that contradicts the testimony of Ms. Driscoll, he will be able (to) understand the actions of that night as well as Ms. Driscoll’s character and motivations and reconsider his judgment. He has already found that Ms. Driscoll lied under oath at least once. Our newly available evidence will make it clear that much more of her testimony was untruthful and was purposefully kept from the Commissioner by Ms. Driscoll’s attempts to intimidate and threaten witnesses.

“It is important for everyone to remember that the Commissioner’s report has to do with a civil, family law matter and no criminal charges have been filed against Mr. Busch.

“We ask everyone’s patience as this case continues in the court of law and are confident that when the truth is known Mr. Busch will be fully vindicated and back in the driver’s seat.’’

NASCAR indefinitely suspends Kurt Busch (VIDEO)

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR indefinitely suspended Kurt Busch on Friday, a few hours after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court Commissioner concluded that “it is more likely than not’’ that Busch committed an act of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend in September.

“Given the serious nature of the findings and conclusions made by the Commissioner of the Family Court of the State of Delaware, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch, effective immediately,” NASCAR’s statement read. “He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice.

“Kurt Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing team are fully aware of our position and why this decision was made. We will continue to respect the process and timetable of the authorities involved.’’

Busch, the 2004 series champion, was found in violation two NASCAR rules:

Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing.

Section 12.8: Behavior Penalty

NASCAR’s Behavior Penalty states that those in NASCAR have certain responsibilities and obligations. Those include: “Correct and proper conduct, both on and off the race track.” NASCAR also notes in its Rule Book that “a Member’s actions can reflect upon the sport as a whole and on other NASCAR members.”

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, said in a brief statement Friday that Busch has the right to appeal the suspension. If Busch does so, O’Donnell said NASCAR would “expedite” the appeal process. That could be completed before Sunday’s Daytona 500.

“NASCAR has made it very clear to the entire membership and the broader industry that any actions of abuse will not be tolerated in the industry,” O’Donnell said. “I want to make it clear that any inference that there’s a culture where tolerance for this type of behavior is patently false.”

Joe Custer, executive vice president for Stewart-Haas Racing, stated: “We understand NASCAR’s position regarding Kurt Busch and accept their decision. We are in the midst of finalizing our plans for the Daytona 500 and we will announce those details as soon as we’re ready.”

NASCAR Chairman Brian France said last month that series officials would react if needed in this matter.

“The only thing we want to do is, and this is important, we’ve got to let the facts come in,’’ France said during the NASCAR media tour. “There would be no reason for me or NASCAR or anybody else to get ahead of those facts given that they may change. Let’s let the facts come in, and if there’s something for us to react to, you can appreciate that we will be very careful and very aware of what the circumstances are.’’

Chevrolet also announced that it has suspended its relationship with Busch indefinitely.

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Motorsports and Performance Vehicles, said: “We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Busch and are prepared to take additional action if necessary.”

Busch’s ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, sought a protective order, alleging that Busch slammed her head against the wall in his motor home three times last September at Dover International Speedway. That came shortly after the breakup of their four-year relationship. Driscoll had gone to the track to console Busch after a series of text messages led Driscoll to be concerned about Busch.

Commissioner David Jones wrote Friday that “it is more likely than not that on September 26, 2014, (Busch) committed an act of abuse against (Driscoll) by manually strangling (Driscoll) with his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand against her chin and face, causing her head to forcefully strike the interior wall of (Busch)’s motor home, thereby recklessly causing physical injury to (Driscoll) and recklessly placing (Driscoll) in reasonable apprehension of physical injury.’’

Jones issued a protective order Monday. The order stated that Busch be evaluated “for mental health problems related to anger control and impulse control.’’ Busch must follow any recommendations of a licensed mental health treatment provider for counseling or treatment.

Driscoll issued a statement Friday night:

“For victims of domestic violence there are no “victories.” My only hope is that the pain and trauma I suffered through this process will help other victims find their voice. Unfortunately we live in a culture where stories like mine are often swept under the rug out of fear and with the knowledge that for every person who shows empathy many more will seek to disparage the victim. It is bad enough to endure the actual physical abuse but the verbal attacks that follow when a victim speaks up are sometimes just as painful.

“Today NASCAR took an important step and deserves to be commended.  The next steps are to develop a thorough process and policies that reenforce the organization’s position it took today:  Domestic violence will not be tolerated in NASCAR.”

Dover (Del.) Police investigated the incident and sent its report to the Attorney General’s Office of Delaware in December. The Office has not determined if to seek charges against Busch.

Busch’s career has been littered with incidents on and off the track with competitors and media that have led to NASCAR penalties. NASCAR suspended Busch for one race in 2012 for threatening a reporter after a then-Nationwide Series race at Dover.

In what was called a “mutual agreement” to separate, Busch lost his ride with Team Penske after the 2011 season. NASCAR fined Busch $50,000 for directing profanity toward a reporter and using an obscene gesture during that year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Additionally, Roush Fenway Racing fired Busch in Nov. 2005 after he was cited in an alcohol-related incident in Avondale, Ariz. during the Phoenix International Raceway race weekend.