Indian police probe Maria Sharapova housing fraud case

Maria Sharapova believes she succeeded in a fight against injustice when she managed to get her doping ban reduced to 15 months (Isaac Brekken/AP)

NEW DELHI — Maria Sharapova is being investigated by police in India in a cheating and criminal conspiracy case involving a real estate company who used the tennis star to endorse a luxury housing project that never took off.

Real estate firm Homestead Infrastructure is accused of taking tens of millions of rupees (millions of dollars) from home buyers for a project named “Ballet by Maria Sharapova,” a luxury apartment complex with its own helipad, tennis academy and other amenities. The five-time Grand Slam champion travelled to India in 2013 to launch the project at a glitzy ceremony. Police began the investigation on Nov. 16.

Piyush Singh, a lawyer representing one of the home buyers, said Sharapova’s celebrity was the reason most people put their money into the project.