Former director of military charity sentenced to 1 year in prison for fraud, tax evasion

FILE — Armed Forces Foundation President Patricia Driscoll is shown during an interview at the Venetian hotel-casino Sunday, May 25, 2008, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/ Ronda Churchill)

The former director of a major military charity was sentenced to a year and a day in prison on Friday for stealing from a charity, defrauding donors and lying to the IRS.

In November 2018, Patricia Driscoll, 41, of Ellicott City, Maryland, was found guilty of using her position as the executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation to steal from the nonprofit and donors while simultaneously hiding her salary from the IRS and the public.

“The mission of the Armed Forces Foundation was to protect and promote the physical, mental and emotional wellness of military service members, veterans and their families,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, in a news release. “Patricia Driscoll lied and decided to use the foundation for her own personal gain, and schemes such as these undermine the work of nonprofit organizations.”

On Friday, Driscoll was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. She will also serve 36 months of supervised release, a period of home confinement, 360 hours of community service and pay $154,289 in restitution and $81,779 in a money judgment forfeiture.

While Driscoll was executive director, the Armed Forces Foundation claimed to donate 95% of all donations directly to military members and their families through charity-run programs, according to the Department of Justice.

As a highly compensated employee of a nonprofit, Driscoll was required to disclose her salary on annual reports to the IRS. Donors and charity watch groups often use those disclosures — known as Form 990s — to decide the worthiness of a given charity.

Driscoll used a number of techniques to defraud donors and the charity and avoid detection. She did not disclose that she received a commission for donations to the charity on her 990s, falsely reported inflated donation numbers and incorrectly listed the types of donations that were coming in.

Driscoll also falsely reported that personal expenses she had charged to the charity were used to benefit military members, veterans or their families.

She then sent these falsified 990s to the board of directors for the nonprofit, along with the IRS.

A jury found that Driscoll was using the foundation’s money for personal use and to pay her for-profit business expenses.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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