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Ohio man who falsely claimed to be Ghanaian prince sentenced to 20 years in prison

An Ohio man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for pretending to be a Ghanaian prince and swindling more than a dozen victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Daryl Robert Harrison, who went by Prince Daryl R. Attipoe and Prophet Daryl R. Attipoe, conned at least 14 people out of more than US$800,000, according to evidence shown at his trial.

Harrison was convicted in September of mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and witness tampering.

For several years, Harrison stole money from people who believed they were investing in African mining and trucking companies, prosecutors said. Harrison falsely claimed that he was a prince from Ghana and had connections to those companies, according to the Justice Department.

Several of Harrison’s victims were congregants of the Power House of Prayer Ministries, where Harrison and his stepfather claimed they were ministers. According to prosecutors, Harrison and his stepfather used the investment money for personal expenses, including renting a house in Colorado and purchasing luxury cars.

District Judge Michael J. Newman gave Harrison the maximum sentence allowed under the law – 20 years behind bars – more than the 14-year sentence prosecutors had asked for.

“Each of the Defendant’s fraud crimes were committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated fashion,” prosecutors wrote in court filings, describing Harrison as an “extremely selfcentered, 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 asked the judge for a much lower sentence, highlighting supportive letters written by parishioners and family members. Harrison’s defense attorney also noted that his wife, who is taking care of their six children, is battling stage IV cancer.

Harrison’s stepfather, Robert Shelly Harrison, Jr., pleaded guilty to one felony charge in December. He will be sentenced later this month.

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