WASHINGTON (WCMH)– A husband and wife from Lewis Center have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a fraud scheme related to the OXYwater product.
According to court documents 43-year-old Preston J. Harrison was sentenced to serve 83 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $375,985.15 in restitution to the IRS and $8,840,706 to victims of the fraud, and to forfeit $1.1 million, including two vehicles, eight weapons, cash and the contents of a bank account. His wife, 42-year-old Lovena Harrison was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $375,985.15 in restitution to the IRS.
The couple went to trial in March and were convicted of multiple crimes. Preston Harrison’s business partner, Thomas E. Jackson, 40, of Powell, Ohio, was also convicted at trial for his role in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 1. Preston Harrison was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and filing a false income tax return, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts of money laundering. Lovena Harrison was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and filing a false income tax return, and structuring financial transactions to evade currency reporting requirements. Jackson was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, eight counts of wire fraud and 12 counts of money laundering.
According to court testimony, Jackson and Preston Harrison operated Imperial, based in Westerville, Ohio, and developed OXYwater, a beverage that promoters claimed was an all-natural, vitamin-enhanced sports drink that contained added oxygen for improved physical performance.
The defendants engaged in a scheme to deceive the investors in Imperial about Imperial and OXYwater’s structure, composition, finances, sales and profits in order to make the company appear to be a lucrative and profitable financial investment. Jackson and Preston Harrison produced and sent false and fraudulent documents intended to deceive investors in order to obtain additional investments in Imperial. They then misappropriated that money for their own personal use, including the purchase of jewelry, a Cadillac Escalade, a BMW vehicle, weapons, clothing, home improvements and a swimming pool.
Between August 2010 and spring 2013, Jackson and Preston Harrison misappropriated approximately $2 million of the investors’ funds. The defendants’ scheme caused investors to suffer substantial losses when the corporation was forced to declare bankruptcy with no assets. As a result of the defendants’ conduct, investors lost approximately $9 million.
In 2011, Preston Harrison misappropriated approximately $1.1 million from Imperial, which he and Lovena Harrison diverted into an account in the name of a daycare business and used for personal expenses. The Harrisons did not report the money as income on their 2011 income tax return.