Former Buckeye Faces Federal Charges In OXYwater Fraud Scheme
Federal agents have arrested a former Ohio State football player on charges of tax fraud and money laundering.
42-year-old Preston Harrison is alleged to have bilked investors, who invested in the company he founded called OXYwater, out of millions of dollars.
IRS and FBI agents came to Harrison’s Lewis Center home on Tuesday to arrest Harrision and his wife Lovena.
Harrison and his partner were founders of the company, which produced a vitamin-enhanced sports drink that contained added oxygen. When the company filed bankruptcy with no assets in 2013, the government says investors lost $9 million dollars.
"It's unfortunate that all these people invested $9 million dollars of hard earned savings into this product and won't get back those dollars," said Assistant US Attorney Laura Fulton.
Harrison was a star quarterback out of South High School in Columbus and went on to play at Ohio State in 1990's.
According to court records, in an effort to make OXYwater appear profitable, Harrison defrauded investors by creating false sales and profit data.
"What it boils down to is a business dispute regarding the scope of the authority to use the funds that were raised to fund the OXYwater product," said Harrison's attorney, Terrence Grady.
Records show, Harrison took the investors’ money and laundered it through his wife's daycare business called Forever Now, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013.
The government says Harrision took the cash and bought a pool for his home along with a 7-series BMW, Cadillac Escalade, and 8 weapons.
The government says investors were both from Ohio and outside the state.
Harrison faces more than 30 charges involving tax evasion and money laundering. If convicted he could face decades in prison.
Harrison, his wife and his partner are no longer in custody.