Shark Tank stars Kevin O'Leary and Kevin Harrington are being sued by 20 alleged victims who claim the businessmen screwed them out of millions by running a "diabolical and brazen scam."
In a lawsuit obtained by Radar, the popular entrepreneurs-turned-TV-personalities are being accused of fraud by two dozen business owners who say they were duped into false promises of success.
According to the documents, the Shark Tank judges organized a "diabolical and brazen scam to defraud what is believed to be hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent, hard-working entrepreneurs out of their last dollar."
Claiming O'Leary and Harrington gave "false promises of financial success," the lawsuit states they even used their successful reality TV show as leverage, allegedly giving the business owners "illusions of being on the show Shark Tank itself."
The lawsuit points out two companies — InventureX and Ideazon — who allegedly claimed to be in the crowdfunding business.
According to the documents, "these 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."
Calling this a "structured fraud scam from beginning to end," the plaintiffs claim they "were lured by the involvement, endorsement and credibility of Shark Tank stars Kevin Harrington and Kevin O’Leary."
"Relying on these Shark Tank powerhouses, Plaintiffs 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.
In the end, the plaintiffs say "their efforts resulted in nothing more than money lost, time wasted and dreams gone," adding that they "seek a reckoning."
Alleging that while InventureX and Ideazon look like "separate, unrelated companies" to the public, "once the curtain was pulled back, they were nearly identical."
"They used the same success stories, same percentage rates of success, same marketing/promotional ideas, same promises/representations, same agreements, same bank accounts and one entity pulling both their strings: Defendant Crowdfund, LLC," the lawsuit reads.
What's O'Leary and Harrington's alleged connection? "Harrington is a partner and primary executive of Defendant InventureX," the plaintiffs allege, claiming he even appeared in a personal video to each of them in an effort to "lure the Plaintiffs to sign up and/or continue paying fees."
As for O'Leary, they allege he "endorsed the primary executives of both companies in the scam."
Accusing the man known as "Mr. Wonderful" of endorsing "people who didn’t exist" and "fraudulent and illegitimate businesses," the lawsuit claims the Shark Tank duo are the faces of a "fraud scheme with victims across the world."
The alleged victims are suing for "fraud," "negligence," "breach of written contract," and "intentional infliction of emotional distress."
Radar obtained a statement from O'Leary via his lawyer following our story, in which the businessman denies any involvement.
“It appears that someone has been using my name and likeness without my knowledge, permission, or consent. I’ve never heard of any of these purported companies and have never conducted business with any of the plaintiffs who filed this suit. Obviously, I want to get to the bottom of it too, as my rights have been violated. We will makes sure that the bad actors are held accountable," he told Radar.