An Ohio man accused of posing as a prince from Ghana and scamming at least 14 people to the tune of over $800,000 was sentenced to 20 years in prison last Wednesday. According to CNN, Daryl Robert Harrison was handed the prison sentence after a federal jury in September found him guilty of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and witness tampering.
Harrison allegedly used the pseudonyms “Prince Daryl R. Attipoe” and “Prophet Daryl R. Attipoe.” He is said to have defrauded his victims over many years. Following his September conviction, the Department of Justice in a statement said Harrison and his stepfather had claimed they were 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 falsely claiming to be a prince from Ghana. He also managed to convince his victims to invest in supposed African trucking and mining companies by claiming that he had direct contact with those entities, the DOJ said. The convicted man also told his investor victims that they could earn an investment return of 28 to 33 percent, the statement added.
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.”
In the 2020 indictment, federal prosecutors claimed that Harrison and his stepfather set out 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 for the benefit of PHOP without the knowledge or authorization of the investors,” CNN reported.
After receiving the investment funds from the victims, prosecutors alleged that Harrison “failed to provide investors with interest payments, routinely terminated all communications with investors, ignored individual investor inquiries and demands from investors seeking the return of investment monies.”
Prosecutors had sought a 14-year prison sentence for Harrison, but District Judge Michael J. Newman handed him the maximum 20-year sentence the law permits, per CNN. “Each of the Defendant’s fraud crimes were committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated fashion,” prosecutors stated in court filings.
Prosecutors also described the convicted man as an “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” that “intimidated and threatened his victims to establish and maintain control over them.”
Harrison had tried to appeal for a shorter sentence from the judge by citing letters of support his family members, as well as parishioners, had written. His defense attorney also said Harrison’s wife was suffering from stage IV cancer and was looking after their six children.
Robert Shelly Harrison, Jr., who is Harrison’s stepfather, was also implicated in the fraud. He is also scheduled to be sentenced this month after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge in December.