IRS probes OXYwater founders Two Columbus Ohio entrepreneurs who came up with an oxygen-enhanced water that landed a NASCAR sponsorship are in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is investigating Preston J. Harrison, a former Ohio State University football player, and Thomas E. Jackson Jr., founders of a Westerville business that makes and distributes OXYwater. An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus says that IRS agents recently seized a 2009 Cadillac, a 2009 BMW and a bank account as part of an investigation into the financial dealings of Imperial Integrated Health Research and Development at 470 Olde Worthington Rd., Suite 200. Harrison and Jackson are the founders of Imperial Integrated.
The allegation is that they funneled investors' money into their personal bank accounts and into another company. As of yesterday, no charges had been filed. Possible charges, according to the affidavit, are wire fraud and money laundering. The affidavit says that Harrison, 41, of 3071 Willow Springs Court, Lewis Center, and Jackson, whose address and age were unavailable, borrowed $5 million from more than 10 people and one company to produce OXYwater beginning in 2011. The investors included several professional basketball players in Europe.
A year later, the court record says, several investors became worried about where their money was going and hired a lawyer. That attorney, who is not named in the affidavit, supposedly learned that the company's tax returns grossly underestimated the amount investors had paid into the company. This month, a three-year sponsorship agreement between NASCAR's FAS Lane Racing team and OXYwater was announced. FAS Lane's #32 Ford Fusion in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series sports the company's name. Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader and Timmy Hill alternate as drivers. Columbus Dispatch
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