Last Wednesday, an Ohio man was sentenced to 20 years in jail for impersonating a Ghanaian prince and defrauding at least 14 individuals out of almost $800,000. According to CNN, Daryl Robert Harrison was sentenced to jail after a federal jury convicted him guilty of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and witness tampering in September.
Harrison is said to have used the aliases “Prince Daryl R. Attipoe” and “Prophet Daryl R. Attipoe.” He is accused of defrauding his victims for many years. In a statement issued after his September conviction, the Department of Justice stated that Harrison and his stepfather claimed to be ministers with Power House of Prayer Ministries, an organization that “sponsored religious services in various church facilities and private residences throughout the Greater Dayton area, Southwestern Ohio area, and Parker, Colorado.”
Harrison was accused of pretending to be a Ghanaian prince. According to the DOJ, he allegedly persuaded his victims to invest in fictitious African trucking and mining enterprises by pretending to have direct contact with those entities. According to the statement, the guilty guy reportedly informed his investor victims that they might get a 28 to 33 percent return on their investment.
Shortly after investments were deposited, the DOJ said that Harrison “routinely withdrew thousands of dollars in cash from the Ministries bank accounts.” The convicted man and his stepfather allegedly used those funds to “rent a house in Colorado, purchase luxury vehicles, airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, and rental cars.”
Federal prosecutors claimed in the 2020 indictment that Harrison and his stepfather intended to “unjustly enrich themselves and PHOP by soliciting monies from investors using false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and converting those monies for defendants’ personal benefit and the benefit of PHOP without the knowledge or authorization of the investors,” CNN reported.
Prosecutors claimed that after receiving the victims’ investment funds, Harrison “failed to provide investors with interest payments, consistently terminated all relations with investors, rejected individual investor enquiries and demands for the return of investment dollars.”
Prosecutors sought a 14-year jail sentence for Harrison, but District Judge Michael J. Newman sentenced him to the maximum 20-year penalty allowed by law, according to CNN. “Each of the Defendant’s fraud charges were committed coldly, calculatedly, and premeditatedly,” prosecutors wrote in court records.
Prosecutors also described the convicted man as a “extremely self-centered, self-possessed sociopath who has no respect for societal rules or norms, and further lacks any empathy or sympathy for his victims,” who “threatened and intimidated his victims in order to establish and maintain control over them.”
Harrison had attempted to persuade the judge to reduce his sentence by presenting letters of support from family members and parishioners. His defense attorney also stated that Harrison’s wife was battling stage IV cancer and was caring for their six children.
Harrison’s stepfather, Robert Shelly Harrison, Jr., was also charged with fraud. He will also be sentenced this month after pleading guilty to a felony charge in December.