Trumpeter Phil Driscoll sentenced to 1 year in prison for tax evasion

Grammy-winning trumpeter Phil Driscoll was sentenced 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 Thursday that he "never intended to take any money from our government, the country that I love."

"I never took a dollar that I didn't sign for," Driscoll said. "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 (Ђ770,000).

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 (Ђ99,111) 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 (Ђ23,000) but less than $80,000 (Ђ61,000).

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, reports AP.

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, Arkansas. The judge, who was appointed by the former president, said Clinton was among those who sent him letters on Driscoll's behalf.

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