Dragons' Den and Shark Tank investor accused of fraud

Allegations claim that Kevin O'Leary and former Shark Tank investor Kevin Harrington are behind a bogus scheme for entrepreneurs

Dragons' Den and Shark Tank investor accused of fraud
Steve Randall

Two high-profile investors have been hit with a lawsuit alleging involvement in a fraudulent scheme that promised help for start-up businesses.

Current Shark Tank investor, Canadian Kevin O’Leary, who also appeared on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, and one of the show’s former participants, Kevin Harrington, are the subject of the legal action according to papers obtained by TMZ.

The allegations have not been proven in court and no comment has been given by Kevin Harrington, but Kevin O’Leary has strongly denied the accusations through a statement from his lawyer, published by TMZ:

"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.”

The lawsuit claims that the two investors have been encouraging entrepreneurs to hire one of two companies - Ideazon and InventureX - with the promise of help and crowd funding support for their businesses.

Two main accusers say that they did this but received no advice or support from the companies and allege that the investors have used "fictional executives, false promises of financial success, and even illusions of being on the show Shark Tank itself" to encourage participation.

Twenty people are backing the lawsuit, but they claim that many more may also have lost money.

The lawsuit questions whether the advisory companies even exist and suggesting that this could be a large “predatory fraud scheme.”

Who are O’Leary and Harrington?

Kevin O’Leary is known as Mr Wonderful on Shark Tank and is also chairman of O’Shares and Beanstox.

Born in Quebec, he appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2006 before joining the US equivalent, Shark Tank, in 2009. He also dabbled with a political career but pulled out of the 2019 Canadian election race.

He built up the successful educational software company SoftKey, which combined with The Learning Company and was then sold to Mattel.

O’Leary also ran an eponymous mutual fund from 2008-2016.

Kevin Harrington was an investor on Shark Tank for the first two seasons. A successful investor since the early 1980s, he has also grown more than 20 businesses and pioneered modern infomercials.