Jurors in the federal criminal trial of Patricia Pauline Driscoll, former head of the Armed Forces Foundation (AFF), return to the courtroom Monday as prosecutors begin their case with their first witness explaining how Driscoll defrauded the military support charity she ran for personal gain.
Driscoll is facing a seven-count federal indictment alleging two counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, one count of tax evasion for 2012, one count of tax evasion for 2013 and one count of first-degree fraud. Originally, Driscoll faced an eight-count indictment but the first count of interfering with the administration of IRS laws was dismissed.
Over the next six to eight weeks federal prosecutors intend to show Driscoll was a manipulative bully who lied to donors, the IRS, the charity’s board of directors and used more than $500,000 to pay her personal expenses, buy jewelry, alcohol, personal items and business expenses. The court will be in session Monday through Thursday, except on federal holidays, until the case is concluded and will meet only on Monday and Tuesday during the week of Thanksgiving.
Driscoll is the former girlfriend of NASCAR Cup Series champion Kurt Busch and used his status and connections to NASCAR to solicit money and other donations for the AFF. During the jury selection process, known as Voir Dire, Judge Leon asked jurors if they would be swayed one way or the other by the mentioning of Busch or NASCAR. He said Busch was not expected to be called as a witness for either side in the case. No one raised their hand to indicate they would be influenced by the references.
Driscoll resigned from the AFF in 2015 and the charity was forced to close because of its financial problems. She is currently suing the charity for money she claims she is owed but the case is delayed pending the outcome of the federal criminal case against her. The AFF responded to her lawsuit in a Washington DC Superior Court filing calling her a "thief."