Trumpeter Phil Driscoll reports to prison to begin tax evasion …

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Grammy-winning trumpeter Phil Driscoll reported to federal prison this week to begin a one-year tax evasion sentence, after a judge denied his request to remain free while he appeals the conviction.

Driscoll, 59, reported Monday to the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, U.S. Bureau of Prisons records show. His projected release date, with credit for good conduct, is Jan. 24.

A jury last June convicted Driscoll on charges of conspiracy and tax evasion involving his gospel music ministry.

Driscoll recorded with several pop acts in the 1970s, including Joe Cocker, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He received a Grammy in 1984.

He recorded more than 30 of his own albums of gospel and patriotic music, which he distributes through his ministry based in Eatonton, Ga., and its website.

An indictment accused Driscoll and his wife, Lynne, of scheming with her mother, bookkeeper Chris Blankenship, to avoid reporting personal income totalling more than $1 million between 1996 and 1999.

An IRS agent testified at the trial that Driscoll and his wife improperly used his Mighty Horn Ministries to shield the money and evade US$128,627 in taxes.

The jury acquitted Lynne Driscoll on the conspiracy count and deadlocked on a tax evasion charge that was later dismissed. Blankenship died before the trial.

At the end of the sentencing, Phil Driscoll’s unpaid tax total was reduced to a range of more than $30,000 but less than $80,000. The white-haired trumpeter said at the sentencing that he never intended to take any money from the government of “the country that I love.”

U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier at the Jan. 25 sentencing allowed Driscoll 45 days to report to prison while considering the bond motion.

Collier’s order denying bond said Driscoll’s arguments to remain free failed to “raise a substantial question of law or fact” likely to result in reversal, a new trial, a sentence that does not include imprisonment or a reduced sentence.


17 thoughts on “Trumpeter Phil Driscoll reports to prison to begin tax evasion …

  1. Is this consistent with other performers /artists who have unpaid taxes and had their property auctioned? I believe an accounting/bookeeping department handled the finances, yet was there a fraud charge for those who cooked the books? Perhaps he was targeted because he was Christian? What benefit does his serving time with no restitution, at a cost of 20-30k plus the cost of prosecution of the case bgenefit society, when if he is guilty, he could have been given some type of community service in which he paid restitution/fine and had his books monitored. More money down the drain, lets just cut another grandmothers social security check to punish this ‘criminal’. Land of the free, home of the brave. Pray for his safety and that God can use this for His glory and to reach others for His kingdom.

  2. Phil Driscoll knew he was not paying taxes on the money he was taking in. The old “the bookkeeper made me do it” excuse is bogus. He was targeted because he is a thief. It had nothing to do with being a Christian. If you don’t want to do the time then don’t do the crime. He got off easy. He should have to pay his IRS tax bills like the rest of us AND to jail time according to the laws of this country. How is prosecuting a thied “money down the drain”? Unless the law and our legal system does its job anyone and eveyone would just stop paying taxes. He made 2.8 million dollars not 2.8 mill cents! He had the money to pay his bills and chose not to.

    I will pray that he is safe while he does his time.

  3. I believe it’s a good and appropriate time for Driscoll to get closer to God. It’s better for him to have surrendered than to dispute his case. These hardship times deserved or not, will make him a more matured man and I hope that he will come out of prison a brand new man. Repentance is the key for every man who wants to be restored and serve God efficiently.

  4. “Perhaps he was targeted because he was Christian?” You must be joking. Since when is a proclaimed Christian above the law? If they are truly Christian, they should live a life above reproach, not use their religion as a way out. Phil Driscoll came to Chapel Hill Harvester Church/The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Earl Paulk’s former church in Decatur, GA) several times. No doubt Phil benefitted from offerings while there, too. That church has been uncovered for a pattern of depravity and abuse that is mind-boggling. I’ll bet the investigator didn’t even know to look into that connection.

  5. But for His grace, there go I!!! All have fallen short to the glory of God. From the first time that I heard Phil Driscoll’s music, I was taken in!! I got so caught up in the worship that this man of God shared with everyone who would listen. I found myself watching his weekly program every Saturday and I truly enjoyed it. I bought a couple of his CDs as well. The anointing is definitely upon him. I received an e-mail from Mighty Horn Productions just about the time this whole thing started. I didn’t read it well because I just found out he went to prison not 2 days ago! W-O-W !!!! Don’t get it twisted y’all, we are all walking in something that is not pleasing to God. There are no sins greater than the others. Sin is sin in the eyes of our Father. Let’s continue to pray for this man of God and his family. I have come to know that God is a Master of restoration and it is He who Phil must please. Judge not, lest ye be judged. What would happen to you if God turned the light on your life? Could you stand up under this kind of scrutiny?

  6. I just learned of this today while watching Jim Bakker’s show. I know that I know that Phil Driscoll is a Man of God. Read the bible and see that no sin is greater than any other. The last line of Brenda’s comment says it all. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Instead of trying to offer excuses for his mistake Phil is owning up to it. Look what God did with King David? Enough said. I believe Phil’s heart is right and God will restore the ministry of Phil Driscoll to even greater heights.

  7. Phill Driscoll was recently at our church, anointed , appointed and a gift to the body of Christ. I also believe as Denise says that Phil’s heart is right and God will restore the ministry of Phil Driscoll to even greater heights. I have been blessed to be in some of his meetings. This is a no doubt man of God.

  8. I do believe that we must pay for our crimes. However, I wonder what good does it do for tax payers to pay for non violent criminals to kept in prison? It cost a lot of money for a person to be fed and housed in jail. I think we would be much better off if these people would be allowed to serve their time by doing community service and be a working member of society that can pay back the unpaid taxes.

  9. I can surley say that I was surprised when this came out. I have had the honor of meeting Phil severa ltimes and listen to his music and teachimgs regularly. I am also a police officer. I do not want to see a man like that arrested. The anointing on him is amazing… Changed my life 16 years ago… really did. But, I was not at the trial to make the descision as to what happened and neather were you. You cant make make a descision unless you were there. We were not the jury, you did nopt hear the argument. We have to trust they made the right descision. Unles you were at the trial or read the transcripts word for word just stop.

  10. This was a big mistake of him, and a costly one. That’s all.
    Everyone who still living in this body and in this planet can easily do a mistake too.
    Thank God for His mercy that endures forever and are everyday upon our lives, and upon the live of Phil.
    This man is really a man of God, and nobodi can say anything different. We all have learned from our mistakes in life, and he will learn too.
    Thank you Lord for his servant’s life, restaure him and his ministry for your Glory, in Jesus Name amen!

  11. Many years ago I became a friend of Phil when we both traveled with a Christian musical group call the Spurrlows. Often Phil and I were roommates during the one year tour. I think Phil was 19 at the time.

    He was and is a very special, talented Christian performer. Phil was always praising God with that trumpet. He blest me by just knowing him.

    Yes he fell hard and it must have hurt, not only him, but those who knew and knew of him.

    I too during the years have fallen and hurt myself and others. But God is good and he forgives us all and always.

    Blessings to you, my friend, Phil. God has not finished with you and there is so much more coming.


  12. if Phil was in politics, wound he had served the time,pray for these judges because they sure need it. And im sure God used Phil in prison,Thank you Phil you are a blessing,and we all make mistakes.

  13. The negative remarks are from those who do not know or care about Ministries or ministers who lay down their lives for the sheep. This was a costly oversight on Brother Phil’s part but he learned wisdom. Now everyone else in ministry (and business) should learn from this mistake, and keep a check on what the bookkeeper(s) are putting in the books. Make sure that the balances are really balanced. Make sure there is enough sent for the quarterly taxes to cover what’s to be paid. Better to overpay than underpay.

    It was not the Driscoll’s fault that his mother-in-law died before the case was settled…So, we really don’t know what her take on this was. Anytime someone who wants to grab up a stone, rock or boulder to throw at another, they might unearth something underneath besides worms. In their hasty judgement, what crawls out from under the rock might be a snake that comes back to bite them.

  14. God knows how to humble us all. He has a plan for all and if we meander He knows how to bring us back. There’s something about money, fame and sexuality that trip up many men both Christian and secular. All we can do is pray that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    To God be the glory for the great things He has done.

  15. Phil may indeed be a good man. But he choose to put himself above the law most of the rest of us follow.

    I am struck by the sympathy that seems to flow to Phil because he is a prominent Christian. Would the same sympathy be forth coming if Phil was the same basically good man who had made a mistake but instead of being a Cristian, was a Muslim or Atheist.

  16. God bless and keep Phil. He has greatly enriched my life and that of countless others.
    We all make and have made mistakes..all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But keep in mind, we serve a great and compassionate
    God who forgives all our sins through his son..Jesus Christ.
    Thank you Phil for all you do and I pray that the Lord will continue to bless you and bless others through your ministry.

  17. I wasn ‘t there, didn’t hear the facts, but I do believe that the doubt in my mind automatically goes to the gov’t side. Any dealing I’ve ever had with the Fed. gov. has always amazed me with the ineptitude and deceitfulness of the same. I would sooner trust anyone than the gov’t. Especially the IRS. My pastor just went to a seminar about tax law and found out that MANY churches are in violation and don’t know it.

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