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Former NASCAR girlfriend sentenced to prison for 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 a year in prison, with the sentence stayed pending appeal, according to court records.
Patricia Driscoll, 41, of Ellicott City, Maryland, was found guilty in November on two counts each of wire fraud and tax evasion and on one count of first-degree fraud, according to court records.
Driscoll led the nonprofit Armed Forces Foundation for 12 years. The charity was established in 2001 to promote veterans' emotional and physical health through outdoor activities and to give small grants to needy families.
Its co-founders included former California Rep. Duncan L. Hunter, who helped recruit Driscoll to run the nonprofit's day-to-day operations. Hunter is the father of current Rep. Duncan D. Hunter.
Along with the year in prison, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered Driscoll to serve 36 months supervised release and to pay $154,289 in restitution.
The sentence has been stayed pending appeal, so Driscoll will not have to report to prison right away.
Driscoll notified the court Sept. 26 of her intent to appeal the final judgment in her criminal trial, according to court records.
Brian Stolarz, an 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."
Driscoll, who made headlines after a messy breakup from her relationship with NASCAR driver Kurt Busch in 2014, has argued that the evidence against her was weak and that there were trial errors and government misconduct during her criminal investigation.
The Armed Forces Foundation reported in 2015 public tax filings that it found evidence that Driscoll had misspent more than $900,000 for personal purposes starting in 2006.
Her alleged misspending included personal shopping trips, legal fees and paying bills for Driscoll's private defense-contracting business, prosecutors said.
The charity reported it had about $44 million in revenue during those years.
Hunter, the former U.S. congressman, had served as an unpaid member of the nonprofit's board as his career in public office wound down; at one point he was its chairman. He left the foundation in 2012.
Hunter was succeeded in the House by his son, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, who also promoted the foundation and attended its charity events after he was elected to Congress in 2008.
In an unrelated criminal proceeding, the younger Duncan Hunter and his wife and former campaign manager, Margaret, are under criminal indictment stemming from their alleged personal use of more than $250,000 from Hunter's political campaign funds.
Both Duncan and Margaret Hunter pleaded not guilty to all counts when they were arraigned last August. Margaret Hunter changed her plea to guilty to one charge in June, while Duncan Hunter continues to fight the charges.
Hunter's criminal trial is scheduled for Jan. 14.
Neither the elder nor the younger Duncan Hunter immediately responded to a request for comment Monday afternoon.
©2019 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.