Elkton woman targeted by nonprofit scam wants to keep helping others

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told KEZI 9 News that she first met Tyrone Powell in 2019 through a friend.

Posted: Mar 2, 2021 6:47 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2021 6:47 PM

ELKTON, Ore. -- An Elkton woman is speaking out about her experience with the man who was arrested last week for allegedly using a fake nonprofit to defraud people in several states.

Tyrone Powell, 40, was arrested when Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies served search warrants in Elkton and Cottage Grove on Feb. 26 following a five-month investigation.

RELATED: MAN CLAIMING TO BUILD TINY HOMES FOR VETERANS ACCUSED OF FRAUD

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told KEZI 9 News that she first met Powell in 2019 through a friend.

He was reportedly using the name John Hope, and he claimed that he ran a nonprofit called the Impossible Road Foundation out of Bellingham, Washington. She said he told her the goal of the nonprofit was the build tiny homes for veterans in need and the homeless.

“He presented himself like a legitimate gentleman,” she said. “He was really convincing.”

She said he told her he wanted to bring the operation to Douglas County and hoped to use her property to build. Out of the 50 acres she owned, she reportedly donated three acres. However, he allegedly took over 30 acres and her shop with the intent of living in it.

“He took 30 acres and I got really angry,” she said. “I told him, I never told you you could have 30 acres.”

Powell is accused of trying to file a restraining order on her using his alias, claiming that it was his property. However, this eventually led investigators to find his real name and his background.

She said they found five other fake nonprofits he ran throughout the country.

“From Alaska he went to Bellingham, Washington, then he came here to try to scam me,” she said.

Powell was taken to the Douglas County Jail on charges of first-degree aggravated theft by deception, first-degree identity theft and forgery, two counts of perjury, two counts of false swearing, first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, unlawful possession of a fictitious identification, and fraudulently obtaining a signature.

“Who knows what kind of scam he’ll come up with if he gets out of jail,” said the woman.

However, she said she has always dedicated herself to helping those in need. Despite being scammed, she said she will continue doing what she loves doing.

“That’s my heart,” she said. “I just wanted to help people get back on their feet.”

She said she’s trying to be more careful next time, and she’s hopeful others will too.

“I’m paying $10,000 in legal fees,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s over yet.”

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