Jennifer Moody: Woman sues Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary, Kevin Harrington for fraud
A lawsuit was filed by 20 entrepreneurs, led by Jennifer Moody, against Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary, Kevin Harrington for a scam
‘Shark Tank’ stars Kevin O'Leary and Kevin Harrington are being sued. A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, September 1, in Los Angeles by 20 entrepreneurs who collectively lost some $400K in an alleged scam. They accused the famous business investors of fraud. They claimed that they were manipulated and defrauded through the alleged use of “fictional executives, false promises of financial success and even illusions of being on the show ‘Shark Tank’ itself.”
Court documents show that the 'Shark Tank' stars were accused of using a “predatory fraud scheme” to have their alleged victims hire one of two companies, InventureX or Ideazon, companies that promised to market and launch crowdfunding campaigns for startups.
Who is Jennifer Moody?
The founder of lead plaintiff Bucket Social is 29-year-old Jennifer Moody. Speaking with the Daily Mail, she claimed that her life savings of $6,000, including cash gifts from her wedding, were lost in a deal with InventureX. Moody said she decided to work with the company after seeing videos of Harrington and O'Leary endorsing InventureX or Ideazon. This is something that other plaintiffs have alleged as well.
Moody, a young entrepreneur from Detroit, does not reportedly come from a wealthy background. She said that she took on a second job to help pay for her wedding. “This was two months before my wedding day, and I was more obsessed with this app than my wedding day,” she said.
Moody’s app claims to help users "discover what the world has to offer and where you can find it." On her LinkedIn page, it says of the startup: "Social Bucket will locate and save the post/advertisement for you on your own personal map. Set reminders, share with friends, and bring your bucket list dreams to real life."
As per reports, the suit alleges that InventureX and Ideazon were “intertwined entities” staffed by fictitious employees, whose photos on the companies' websites were actually stock images. The lawsuit claimed the companies took fees but never delivered the promised crowdfunding launches. “I was devastated,” Moody told the tabloid. “I felt this was my one chance to get my company going, and I felt humiliated and a failure when no campaign happened.”
As per the lawsuit, a purported InventureX executive called Mark Campbell told Moody on a phone call that she would be a great candidate for InventureX, and that Kevin Harrington himself was going to be reviewing her project. After sending her a proposed contract, InventureX allegedly sent Moody a video of Harrington “stating that he saw her project and was excited to work with her.”
“This was a big step for my husband and I. We took our wedding gift money and savings, and cashed out our stocks,” Moody said. “I tried to do my due diligence and look into this company. It was a big deal to see Kevin Harrington on this website endorsing it.”
She paid a $6,000 fee to InventureX. The company then began demanding a $500 monthly fee, according to the complaint, and endlessly delayed the start of her crowdfunding campaign. The company allegedly kicked back the date five times and has not launched it to this date. “This case arises from 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,” the lawsuit states. “Make no mistake; this is a structured fraud scam from beginning to end.”
The suit also alleged that O'Leary “endorsed the primary executives of both companies in the scam” including “referring to them by name.” Harrington was alleged to be a “partner and primary executive” of InventureX. The Mail reported that hours after the suit was filed, the websites of both InventureX and Ideazon announced that the companies had shut down.
The legal complaint stated the investors “were lured by the involvement, endorsement and credibility” of the ‘Shark Tank’ stars and “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.”
“Everybody has virtually the same story, they were kind of lured in to work with these companies based on the purported involvement of Harrington and endorsement of O'Leary,” said lead attorney for the defendants Tre Lovell. The Los Angeles-based lawyer added, “they paid their money and were excited to get their campaigns launched, and out of 20 clients zero campaigns were launched. These are upstart entrepreneurs — they're not wealthy, and some put their last dollars into these campaigns and these dreams, and that is the real egregious and disgusting aspect of what happened here.”
Attorney Steve Mandell, who represents Harrington, said in a statement that these were “false allegations”, arguing that Harrington “never had any business arrangement or contract with any of the Plaintiffs. This should be a dispute between the Plaintiffs and InventureX. Kevin simply did a video for this Company. Kevin has never owned any piece of the company nor served any executive role within the company.” Harrington, the lawyer said, was “disturbed by the accusations and has been taken advantage of as a businessman, and that he intended to pursue “each and every person accountable and will defend the allegations contained in this complaint vigorously.”