Prison Sentence

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Tuesday 20th February 2007

Phil Driscoll given year and a day sentence for tax evansion

GRAMMY-winning singer, trumpeter and CCM star Phil Driscoll was sentenced in January to a year and a day in prison for using his gospel music ministry in an income-tax evasion scheme. U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier allowed Driscoll 45 days to report to prison and agreed to decide by that March 12 deadline on Driscoll's request to remain free while he appeals his conviction. The white-haired trumpeter said at the sentencing that he "never intended to take any money from our government, the country that I love."

Said Driscoll, "I never took a dollar that I didn't sign for. The purpose of my life was the gift that God gave me." Last June, a jury found Driscoll, 58, guilty on charges of conspiracy and tax evasion from 1996 through 1999. The indictment accused Driscoll and his wife, Lynne, of scheming with Lynne Driscoll's mother, bookkeeper Chris Blankenship, to avoid reporting personal income totaling more than $1 million. An IRS agent testified at the trial that Driscoll and his wife improperly used his Mighty Horn Ministries to shield the money and evade $128,627 in taxes. The jury acquitted Lynne Driscoll on the conspiracy count and deadlocked on a tax evasion charge that was later dismissed.

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. Collier did not impose a fine on Driscoll and said no restitution was due. 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 and its Web site. Driscoll performed "America" at the dedication ceremony for Bill Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock, Ark. The judge, who was appointed by the former president, said Clinton was among those who sent him letters on Driscoll's behalf. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

Reader Comments

Posted by Dennis p. Wallace in San Antonio Texas @ 19:02 on Sep 22 2018

In early 1970's, I attended high school at Southwest high,
Playing conductor, Robert Norman, took Bill Kuntz & myself to the basement of the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.Phil Driscoll and his band were playing @ the time.
He played a rendition of Elenor Rigby like no one ever has. Whole playing, he reached over the bar, grabbed a bottle, pored a ring around himself (with the bottle), splashed is trumpet with the liquid, then set them both on fire, continuing his rendition of the song octaves higher than anyone has played.That show will be embedded in my mind forever.Never saw anything like it to this day.

Posted by Stephanie Jennings in St. Louis, Missouri @ 22:09 on Mar 14 2017

May God Continue to Richly Bless and Keep You and Your Family. Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do. Always Remember Your Song and Never Forget About It, "The Promised Land-I Wanna Go, Where the Milk and Honey Flows... Where Jesus Is The Light, and He's Building Me a Home OOO, I Wanna Be, Where My Father Waits For Meee. I'm Longing For the Day I Finally Stand....In the Promised Land. Don't ever stop singing for Jesus. Trials come to make us strong...They also will give us a New Song. Stay Strong, Keep Holding On to Jesus, Knowing It's Almost Time to Go Home (Heaven).

Posted by sara jordan powell in Tulsa, Ok @ 16:01 on Sep 3 2015

Dear Sir Phil: Thank you for your vibrant prayer which you shared with me last month in the Jackson, Ms. Downtown Convention Center after I minister in song just before Benny Hinn delivered a powerful message. Your music ministry touched my life, deeply, too!!! May I hear from you soon? Please!!!

Posted by vicks in Ohio @ 17:08 on Jul 31 2013

This is another way the media try to point a finger a christians, " see I told you," Listen christians are not perfect..period. If he did this he like everyone will pay his due but please don't bring because you are a christian you are perfect. The only perfect one is Jesus Christ. Saying that yes we must be accountable for our own actions but please don't milk this for more just to take a stab at christianity.

Posted by Joe in Tennessee @ 18:44 on Mar 15 2013

Phil you are salt of the earth. You are a true servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. Your music has inspired millions of people around the world. God said he would never put on us what we could not handle. You are a shining example of a selfless life and God's blessing I pray continue to chase you down. You my friend never did anything wrong! Love u brother:) God richly bless u!

Posted by Mayokun in Nigeria @ 14:40 on Mar 3 2013

No matter what they say or said you did, it does not change the truth that you will forever be a gift to the body of Christ. Nothing can take you away from the love of Christ. Not even prison term. Jesus had to take our sins in order to gain entry into hell to disarm satan, you had to do these to enter prison, there is a purpose for you there, find it. God always has a way of turning the table on satan. You will find that purpose, fulfill it and come out stronger and better in Jesus name. Receive strength in Jesus name.

Posted by Billy Rappold in Diamondhead Mississippi @ 01:08 on Jul 6 2012

I had the opportunity to play one of the correctional officers in your film LONG DAYS JOURNEY filming at the Louisiana State Prison in ANGOLA, LOUISIANA. This is going to be a GREAT MOVIE. I base this on the two scenes I SAW being FILMED. This is a movie about REDEMPTION. PHIL is in EVERY SCENE. DANNY GLOVER is his friend in PRISON and it is A.W.E.S.O.M.E!!! God helped write this one. SEE YOU IN THE MOVIES!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Billy Rappold

Posted by Jim cramer in Us @ 16:53 on Mar 16 2012

We still live you bro,This doesnt brake you it shapes you, too and makes you stronger ,your still perfect in God,s eyes,and mine.

Posted by Ayo Ogunsanlu in England @ 08:06 on Jun 14 2011

I onyl hard about this today because for the past three days, I ahve been unable to get Phil Driscoll's version of "I exalt thee" out of my head, so thought I check out the web to find where I can get it. I spent several hours praying with his music in the background... so I have a deep passion for his music. HOWEVER, we need to stand together and pray for our fallen soldiers... that's all I would say. I understand the hurt, disappointment etc etc. I think having said all, we do need to stand and pray for them ... no matter what we think in our minds. Do what you have to do in addition, but don't leave out the prayers!

Posted by Tim List in Floral City, FL @ 01:46 on May 31 2010

I first heard Phil in Inverness, Florida Church of God in in 1984...his music changed me from a non-involved with Christ person to one who is. It took a long time for me to change my heart from believing religion was full of "money only" to something much more real. In 1989 I committed my life to Christ at Mt. Paron Church of God, in Atlanta...but I only would listen to Phil's music as I sat at home and drank rum as I listened to his music. On Oct. 12 of 1989 I gave my life to Christ and never drank alcohol for 12 years. Probably putting too much trust in the words of Phils Music...when I heard that he supported Clinton with his music, a democrat...(so have I been, until I gave my life to Christ... I felt betrayed by Phil...say whatever you want Democrats support abortion...and I don't understand how any real Christian can. I quit my commitments to Christ and not drinking...because I cannot justify the both...Even one give up on being a Democrat...or you support their position on abortion...I cannot live one and not the other.

Since Phil led me to Christ...he also led me away from Christ...Now I drink when I'm lost...not Phil's fault... but mine...I understand that...but I would have never left Christ if the person who led me there. (Phil Driscoll) would have stood for live and not Bill Clinton!!!!!!!

I'm now lost...for Phil was the only person I trusted to not be some religious guy asking for money...but he supports the same liberals I've been trying to seems they are turning our country from a God fearing county to a secular country...and even as a Democrat, I don't think that's why we beat the worlds strongest military over 200 years ago....I think God wanted us to be...not that!!!!!!

Reply by Deborah in United States @ 22:53 on Apr 1 2017

I was so sad reading your message to Phil Driscoll. I'm praying for you, Tim, that you'll pray/recommit your faith to Jesus Christ as your Savior/Lord. People will disappoint. Putting faith in any person other than the Person of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture will always cause us to fall. Our prayer must always be, "Open my eyes Lord," & "Day By Day, Lord, Dear Lord, 3 things I pray:1) To see Thee more clearly 2) To love Thee more dearly 3) To follow Thee more nearly, day by day (as the song). Politics can easily become too important & there's wrong on both sides. I'd been a Republican because I support life, but I'm a Christian 1st. I believe no matter what is going on in this world or trending on the news/social media, God is on His throne & working all according to His good pleasure/will; while evil is present, God has eternal vision, is working His plan, always in control. There're broken Christians/lies in all political parties; what matters most: our faith in Jesus Christ as He works to conform our hearts to His will & that we pray for one another & our nation. All the corruption in churches & groups around the world can disappoint, but we're to keep our love/hearts fixed on Christ Jesus/Read His Word & not despair. Republicans & Christianity aren't synonymous. Since Trump, I'm ex-GOP & wrote-in McMullin who's Pro-Life--I, too, believe Life is fundamental. McMullin, as all, has faults, but I seek God 1st, knowing God's on the side of Life & that He can use anyone at various stages of brokenness. We're all broken, but are growing in Christ if we're trusting Him/surrendering to Him. People who lead/govern have special temptations (even those who profess Christ)--often they fall to lust/pride (many examples, as David). & we can be tempted to trust them too much. We must keep praying for them--& ourselves--that we not fall to sin & turn from Jesus our only living hope age to age. Be encouraged in God's Word. Pray. Look to God's grace!

[report abuse]

Reply by Valerie in Thomaston, Ga @ 12:03 on Apr 20 2013

If you think Brother Driscoll is some false religious guy, you really are without a clue.
Just because he sang for former president Clinton & had such an impact on him that he spoke up for Phil in letters to the Judge, doesn't mean their best chums.
You claim that just because he sang for him, he supports Clintons beliefs. That is absurd.
The Word of God gives Christians the Great Commission to reach the lost for Christ, which is what brother Driscoll does. It is his passion for Christ wherever he goes to sing.
Your first impression of brother Driscoll was right but you've allowed the devil to come in and rob you of your blessing. The Word of God calls him a thief and a robber and the accuser of the brethren.
Brother Driscoll is not guilty of any accusation on this sight.
After the so-called mistake they made, a ridiculous mass of money they originally claimed he owed, they had to reduce it to like 30,000.
Supposedly, this later sum was that he shorted them a little and it accumulated over several years whereas the initial accusation was that he failed to file period. Not only did the amount change, their entire story changed. In reality, the 30,000 was accounted for, they just refused to give him the allowances due him for his home and transportation for his ministry.
I'd say it was probably a combination of their greed for his money, & they didn't want the world to see they were completely wrong.

[report abuse]

Reply by JOHN in MONTEREY CA @ 15:05 on Jul 9 2011

Dear Tim,
I just read your post and I hear you talking about commitment, and any and every thing that is wrong with what others are doing or not doing. But I must say that your testimony of comming to Christ then leaving him only exposes the fact that you never made a TRUE commitment to Christ and what HE did for YOU, but your trust was in other people and their actions. Why dont you put your trust in JESUS CHRIST and the sacrifice he made for YOU, HE WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN! confess Jesus now as your Lord and Savior and make a TRUE commitment to Christ and start living for him, you wont regret it. Dont let other peoples choices cause you to reject Christ and miss YOUR salvation, it is yours, paid for by the Blood of Jesus, but you have to willing recieve it, he wont make you get saved and be re-born with the new birth.
Read the book of Romans, pay attention to Rom. ch.10 verses 9 thru 13

[report abuse]

Reply by Marcia in New York @ 17:55 on Jan 19 2011


Phil is not Christ and like you and me, that makes him subject to fault. I'm always amazed at how we keep calling ourselves Christians and fail to be Christlike.

[report abuse]

Reply by Michael Brown in Ghana @ 08:46 on Jul 27 2010

Tim. I read with a lot of sadness in my heart for you. I love that man and I call him Papa Phil. His music has always transforms me into a better person. This man did not lead to himself but to christ. If this man led to Christ what is the testimony you have with Christ himself. I believe Christ did many great and wonderful things for you and that it what you have to tell the whole world. The testimony of Christ. Furthermore. The American law is not the law of God. The American Law does not forgive but God law forgives. I pray that God strengthens him through these times and give him a renewed spirit but will not be broken

[report abuse]

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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