The lawsuit, filed by 20 people across the U.S., alleges that the two business executives endorsed InventureX and Ideazon — these companies purport to offer consulting services to entrepreneurs looking to enter the crowdfunding space. However, the customers did not receive what they had paid for, with the companies virtually disappearing once payment had been taken.
O’Leary, who regularly appears on the ABC business reality series, says that he was not involved in the scam and that his name and likeness were used without his permission. “It appears that someone has been using my name and likeness without my knowledge, permission, or consent,” O’Leary said in a statement via his attorney.
The statement continued: “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 make sure that the bad actors are held accountable.”
However, the suit alleges that O’Leary endorsed the companies and their “fake executives” by name. It notes that his endorsement can be bought “by simply filling out a short form and paying a fee, where he will endorse people without knowing anything about the person or the person’s business, including whether or not they exist.
“The statements of Mr. O’Leary came directly from videos where he discusses both InventureX and Ideazon, and specifically endorses principals of each company, by name,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney Tre Lovell, adding that transcripts of the videos are included in the complaint.
The suit also claims that Harrington, a former Shark Tank guest, sent personalized videos to each plaintiff in an effort to lure them to sign up or continue paying fees.
Shark Tank, Season 13, Premiere, Friday October 8, 8 PM / 9 PM EDT, ABC