DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. – A man accused of using a fake nonprofit to defraud people in several states was arrested in Oregon last week.
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.
Powell reportedly scammed an elderly victim in Elkton out of 30.8 acres and a shop using the guise of a nonprofit called the Impossible Roads Foundation, which claimed to be building tiny homes for disabled veterans. Deputies said Powell assumed the property as his own after the transaction.
Then, the suspect reportedly obtained restraining orders against the victim and filed criminal reports accusing the victim of crimes such as burglary and theft under his alias, John Hope, deputies said.
Powell, who grew up in California and attended Yale University, lived in Arizona, where he allegedly became involved in fraudulent activity and operated separate false nonprofits under the names of The Missing Piece Foundation, True Story World, The Missing Piece Foundation Endowment, Machine Seven Super Car Tour and Love.
In 2009, Powell was arrested in Arizona for altering a VIN on a vehicle and was involved in a civil litigation for defaulting on loans, deputies said. At the time, Powell told authorities he was the victim of identity theft.
A couple of years later, he reportedly left the state and is believed to have traveled to Alaska and then Washington, where he assumed the identity of John Hope and started the fake Impossible Roads Foundation, deputies said. Using this organization, Powell reportedly obtained large donations from companies like Home Depot.
Deputies travelled to Bellingham, Washington, in January 2021 and interviewed multiple people familiar with Powell under his alias. Authorities also reportedly learned a majority of donated items were not being used and were abandoned, and shipping containers provided for use as tiny homes had been sold.
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. Additional charges may follow.
If you have any information, contact the sheriff’s office at at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the tip line at 541-957-2099.