Shark Tank stars Kevin O'Leary and Kevin Harrington are facing allegations of promoting a "predatory fraud scheme." The two businessmen have been named in a lawsuit filed by 20 hopeful entrepreneurs from across the country accusing them of running a "diabolical and brazen scam" involving startup firms focused on crowdfunding.
O'Leary, 67, and Harrington, 64, are accused of working together to defraud people through the alleged use of "fictional executives, false promises of financial success, and even illusions of being on the show Shark Tank itself," according to court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight and Radar Online. The lawsuit claims the two businessmen mislead entrepreneurs into investing in one of two companies, InventureX or Ideazon, with the promise that "they would receive help with crowd funding to start their businesses." However, the two companies "turned out to be nothing less than facades designed to lure in unsuspecting victims, extract their money and then virtually disappear under the guise of delays, minimal to no performance, and no results." The plaintiffs said InventureX and Ideazon might not even really exist and could instead potentially be a front for scamming upstart investors, who were "lured by the involvement, endorsement and credibility of Shark Tank stars Kevin Harrington and Kevin O'Leary."
The entrepreneurs who filed the suit, which was first reported on by TMZ, claim that their losses could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per plaintiff. The documents state Harrington is "a partner and primary executive of InventureX," and O'Leary allegedly "endorsed and recommended" the same two companies. They call it a "structured fraud scam from beginning to end" and said that they "bought into the dream, paid their money, and then went through agonizing months, if not years, of frustration and distress of trying to get their products launched and businesses started with no results."
"Ultimately, once the scam was revealed, these victims spent more agonizing frustration trying to get their money back to receive just more lies and deception," the documents read," adding that the plaintiffs say "their efforts resulted in nothing more than money lost, time wasted and dreams gone."
According to the documents, the plaintiffs "seek a reckoning." The lawsuit asks that Harrington and O'Leary pay for damages, economic loss, emotional distress, and legal fees. At this time, representatives for the two Shark Tank stars have not responded to requests for comment.