Phil Driscoll Found Guilty Of 3 Counts Of Tax Evasion

Could Get Up To 15 Years, Wife Faces Retrial

Thursday, June 8, 2006
Phil Driscoll
Phil Driscoll

A Federal Court jury on Thursday afternoon ruled Grammy-Award winning gospel musician Phil Driscoll guilty on conspiracy to avoid paying income taxes and two counts of income tax evasion. He was found not guilty of one count of income tax evasion.

Driscoll, 58, faces sentencing Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. The maximum he faces is five years on each of three counts - for a maximum of 15 years.

The jury ruled his wife, Lynne Driscoll, not guilty of conspiracy and not guilty of one count of tax evasion. But the jury deadlocked on another tax evasion charge she faced.

Prosecutor Will Mackie said Ms. Driscoll will be retried on that count. A date has not yet been selected.

The Driscolls left the courthouse without commenting. They remain free on bond.

Cleve Daniels, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation in the Nashville Field Office said, "The majority of citizens out there are working hard to pay their share of taxes, and to make the system fair for everybody.

"It is important that we prosecute those who intentionally do not pay their fair share. This verdict sends a clear message that tax evasion is a serious crime against the American public."

Prosecutor Mackie, who is from Knoxville, said the case shows that "regardless of a person's station in life, they are required to pay their share of taxes."

The jury had deliberated over nine hours on the Thursday and Friday before Memorial Day.

The tax evasion case was recessed the week of Memorial Day.

One of the regular jurors could not continue and was replaced by an alternate on Monday. The jury deliberated over 22 hours since Monday.

Court officials said Judge Curtis Collier has never had a jury out that long. He finished two other trials in the time the Driscoll jury was deliberating.

Driscoll and his wife have moved their music ministry to Eatonton, Ga., after many years at Cleveland, Tn.

The trial began April 24.

The two defendants did not take the witness stand.

The indictment charged that from 1996 to 2000 the Driscolls did not report more than $1 million in income and evaded paying over $300,000 in taxes.

An IRS agent testified at the trial that the Driscolls evaded $128,627 in taxes owed for 1996-1999.

Chris Blankenship, mother of Mrs. Driscoll, was also charged, but she died just before the trial started. She was the bookkeeper for the Driscoll ministry, which was initially called Mighty Horn Ministries and later was known as Phil Driscoll Ministries.

It was testified that the ministry took in as much as $2.8 million in a year.

Prosecutors said ministry funds were used to pay for a second home for the Driscolls and to pay personal family expenses.

Paula Junghans of Washington, D.C., attorney for Phil Driscoll, asked for extra time to prepare post-trial motions in the case.

Here is the biography of Phil Driscoll from his Mighty Horn Ministries website:

The name Phil Driscoll is synonymous with great music. His trumpet, voice, heart and soul have moved audiences around the world for more than 20 years. Phil Driscoll has the unique ability to turn a twisted piece of brass into a soaring instrument of beauty. When you hear him sing or listen to the music he has composed, you will agree that Phil Driscoll is a world-class artist of the new millennium.

The man, the music and the message Phil portrays have withstood the test of time. His message of hope is paramount in the music he represents and the life he lives. From Grammy awards to the applause of presidents, as well as, prisons to missions of mercy, the sound and message of the music coming from the heart of Phil Driscoll rings strong and true. From performances and recordings with rock and roll legends like Joe Cocker and Blood Sweat & Tears to classical music recordings with the London Philharmonic orchestra at CBS, the trumpet and voice of Phil Driscoll is the equivalent of greatness. An accomplished composer and writer, his music has been heard in countries all over the world, including Singapore, South Africa, Europe and Russia, to name just a few. His appeal is truly universal. The diversity of Phil's' sound, from jazz to blues to gospel; and up-tempo pop to heartfelt ballads, will take you on a musical journey you will not soon forget. If music is a gift from God, when you hear this music you will undoubtedly agree that Phil Driscoll has received a generous portion.

On a personal note, Phil's regard for his family plays a major role in his life. He has a wonderful and beautiful wife, Lynne, and three children. His sons, Shawn and Jamie, and his daughter Danielle, have inherited much of their father's heart for music. He has two grandsons Lucas, 2 years old, Drew, 3 years old, and one granddaughter, Lily, 3 months old.

Awards & Recognitions

Phil has always said that it is not about how many awards you receive it is really about the lives that you touch for Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, over the years Phil has been recognized by his peers for his outstanding accomplishments and his relentless pursuit of world class music. Check them out!

-- CCMA Award: Musician of the Year

-- Grammy Nomination: "Warriors" - Best Pop Album of the Year
-- Readers Choice Awards: Charisma Magazine - Fav. Instrumentalist

-- Readers Choice Awards: Charisma Magazine - Fav. Instrumentalist

-- Dove Award: 18th Annual Instrumental Album of the Year

-- Dove Award: 16th Annual Gospel Music Album of the Year

-- Dove Award: 15th Annual Gospel Music Album of the Year
-- Grammy Award: "Keep the Flame Burning"
-- *Best Gospel Performance by a duo or group w/ Debbie Boone

-- Dove Award: 16th Annual Gospel Music Album of the Year

Phil Driscoll
Phil Driscoll

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