LOS ANGELES (CN) - Deepak Chopra sued a business partner, claiming the man defrauded him of $155,000 in a "consciousness project."
Chopra and his Chopra Foundation sued James Patrick Walsh, the HESA Institute, The Consciousness Project, and Intentional Chocolate Co., in Superior Court.
Chopra, 66, a New Age physician and best-selling author, claims he thought he had found a kindred spirit in Walsh, and appointed him in April to the Chopra Foundation's board of directors.
The men worked together on "Consciousness Project," exploring "consciousness and spiritual reality" Chopra says in the lawsuit.
Chopra claims that by the time he realized he had been hoodwinked, he had handed over $50,000 in seed funding that Walsh then put into his corporation, The Consciousness Project. Walsh founded the company in 2010 in Florida, where it existed under several different names, according to the complaint.
Chopra "would learn that Walsh had a pattern of starting and running organizations that made big promises of funding, research, betterment and benefit for the general public, but seldom delivered," the 15-page lawsuit states. "The companies would raise funds for various projects and then go inactive or, as happened with the corporation that would become 'The Consciousness Project, Inc.,' be given a new name corresponding to Walsh's newest project."
Chopra claims that in addition to the loan he gave Walsh $30,000 for costs and expenses, and invested $75,000 in Walsh's research and development company, HESA Institute.
Chopra claims Walsh secured investments for HESA but did not deliver the profits or returns he promised. When Chopra asked for his money back, Walsh refused to return it, according to the complaint.
Walsh also created the Intentional Chocolate Company to sell a line of Chopra chocolates, Chopra says. That business is not registered in California but shares the same business address as HESA in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood in the Westside of L.A., the complaint states.
"In time, Dr. Chopra and the Chopra Foundation began to learn about Walsh, his business practices, and his past. People from Walsh's past shared with Dr. Chopra and the Chopra Foundation the experiences they had with Walsh," the lawsuit states. "A look into Walsh revealed a trail of unsuccessful, abandoned or failed companies and projects; lawsuits, judgments, liens and bankruptcies; as well as investors, collaborators and business associates who felt that their provision of money, cooperation, and resources had been induced by Walsh's misleading or untrue promises."
Chopra severed ties and Walsh resigned from the Chopra Foundation in October, citing the foundation's "'hostile and irreparable'" actions, the complaint states. Chopra says Walsh falsely claimed that a $5 million investment from German business software maker SAP was meant for Consciousness Project Inc.
"It was not," the complaint states; it claims the money was earmarked for Chopra's "consciousness work."
Chopra seeks rescission and rescissory damages, and damages for fraud and deceit, and statutory misappropriation of name and likeness.
Chopra is represented by Michael Hennigan with McKool Smith Hennigan.
Walsh did not immediately respond to a request for comment after business hours Thursday.
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