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Friday, November 30, 2018

Former Executive Director of Military Charity Found Guilty of Fraud and Tax Evasion Defendant Found Guilty of Stealing from Charity, Defrauding Donors, Lying to IRS


            WASHINGTON – Patricia Pauline Driscoll, the former executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation, was found guilty by a jury today of charges stemming from a scheme in which she stole from the non-profit charity, defrauded donors, and lied to the Internal Revenue Service and the public about her salary and benefits.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, and Special Agent in Charge Kelly R Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Washington D.C. Field Office.

            Driscoll, 40, of Ellicott City, Maryland, was found guilty of two counts of wire fraud and two counts of tax evasion, all federal offenses, and one count of first-degree fraud, a District of Columbia offense. The verdict followed a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Richard J. Leon scheduled sentencing for a date to be determined in mid-March, 2019.

            According to the government’s evidence, until July 2015, Driscoll was the executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation, a tax-exempt non-profit charity based in Washington, D.C.  The foundation’s stated mission was to protect and promote the physical, mental, and emotional wellness of military service members, veterans, and their families.

            While Driscoll was the executive director, in its promotions and requests for money, the Armed Forces Foundation claimed that 95% of all donations went directly to military members and their families through the charity’s programs. As a “highly compensated individual,” Driscoll’s salary and benefits were required to be disclosed on annual reports (called “Form 990”) to be filed each year with the IRS. These publicly available documents are often used by charity watch groups and donors to judge worthiness of the charity and by the IRS to determine whether the organization was operating with IRS law and regulations.

            According to the evidence, Driscoll caused false reports to be filed on the Form 990s in a number of ways. For example, 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.

            Additionally, Driscoll falsely reported and caused others to falsely report the amount of donations received by the foundation on Forms 990, by inflating the amounts of donations and incorrectly listing the types of donations. According to the evidence, she sent false and fraudulent Forms 990 to members of the foundation’s Board of Directors and to the IRS, and caused to be published Forms 990, containing false and fraudulent information.

            The jury found that Driscoll took the foundation’s money for her own personal use and to pay her for-profit business expenses.  The tax evasion charges are for tax years 2012 and 2013.

            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. The maximum statutory sentence for federal offenses is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            In announcing the verdicts, U.S. Attorney Liu, Special Agent in Charge DeSarno, and Special Agent in Charge Jackson commended the work performed by Special Agents from the FBI and Special Agents and Revenue Agents from the IRS.  They also acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Yvonne Bryant; Victim/Witness Services Coordinators Tonya Jones and Katina Adams-Washington; Supervisory Paralegal Specialist Tasha Harris; Paralegal Specialists Diane Brashears and Amanda Rohde; Forensic Accountant Bryan Snitselaar; Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Lucas; former Paralegal Specialists Christopher Toms, Corinne Kleinman, and Kaitlyn Kruger; Litigation Technology Supervisor Leif Hickling; former Litigation Technology Supervisor Josh Ellen, and David Goodhand, Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney, who provided midtrial legal research and writing.

            Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Virginia Cheatham, Kathryn Rakoczy, and Derrick Williams, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

Justice Department Awards More Than $16.7 Million to Support Victims of Las Vegas Shooting


The Justice Department today announced that the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) awarded more than $16.7 million in Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program (AEAP) funding to aid survivors of the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker made the announcement in a speech to state, local, and federal law enforcement in Cincinnati this morning.

Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 600 physically injured when a man opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, an open-air music venue, from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip. When officers located the gunman and entered the room, he was found dead with self-inflicted wounds. In June, the Department awarded over $2 million to support first responders in the aftermath of the shooting. In addition, earlier this month the Department announced a new $8.7 million grant to provide multi-disciplinary, scenario-based active shooter training to first responders across the country.

“This Department of Justice stands with our first responders and victims of crime," Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said. "We have already provided $3 million to cover expenses for state and local law enforcement in Las Vegas and in Clark County following last October's horrific mass shooting. Today we take the next step of providing more than $16 million for the victims of that tragedy and for the first responders who came to the scene, to help pay for counseling, therapy, rehabilitation, trauma recovery, and legal aid. While we cannot undo the harm that has been done, this Department of Justice is doing what we can to help Las Vegas heal."

The funding, totaling $16,735,720, will assist victims of this incident, including ticket holders, concert staff, vendors, witnesses, law enforcement personnel, and other first responders. It also will support close family members, medical personnel, coroner’s staff, taxi drivers, and others who helped the concert attendees. The grant will defray the costs of counseling and therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and trauma recovery for victims and emergency responders. Funds will also help with legal aid and supplement the massive outlays incurred by the Nevada victim compensation program.

AEAP is a non-competitive solicitation specifically created to provide supplemental emergency and longer-term victim support to jurisdictions where a criminal mass violence or domestic terrorism incident occurred. OVC can award funding once local and state authorities have determined the costs associated with responding and have submitted a request for assistance.

For more information about AEAP, please visit: https://www.ovc.gov/AEAP/

The Office of Justice Programs, led by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More information about OJP and its components can be found at: www.ojp.gov.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Former EMT And Volunteer Firefighter Sentenced To 135 Months In Prison For Enticing Child To Produce Sexually Explicit Images


TRENTON, N.J. – A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man who worked as an emergency medical technician and volunteer firefighter was sentenced today to 135 months in prison for enticing a child to produce sexually explicit images, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Zachary Motta, 24, of Iselin, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to an information charging him with one count of online enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Beginning in October 2016, Motta communicated with a boy who told Motta he was 12 years old. Motta used a computer and internet connection to ask the victim to send a picture of himself nude, which he did.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wolfson sentenced Motta to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $5,000 Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act assessment.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Newark Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Alfonzo Walsman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Michael Policastro Esq., Milltown, New Jersey