PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – After arresting a former ‘Shark Tank’ contestant, Utah County investigators are asking his other victims to come forward.
Following an investigation, authorities arrested 42-year-old Nate Holzapfel. The Utahn gained notoriety in 2013 after pitching the Mission Belt Co., which makes no-holes belts while also fighting world hunger, on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank.’ Holzapfel accepted an offer from Shark Daymond John. Mission Belt was founded by Holzapfel’s brother, Zac, and Jeff Jensen.
Holzapfel was arrested on three counts of second-degree felony communications fraud after he “engaged in a scheme and course of deception to defraud a vulnerable” woman. Through that, Holzapfel took over $196,000 from the woman who investigators say has “significant health problems and a disabled, total care adult child in a wheelchair.” He is accused of convincing her to transfer the ownership interest in her home “to protect her equity.” Holzapfel allegedly then sold her home without her “participation or knowledge of the events.”
“Our office and its investigators are focused on crime that hurts people. Clearly, financial crimes such as this are life-altering events for the victims,” Utah County Attorney David Leavitt explains.
Holzapfel was booked into the Utah County Jail with a $20,000 bail and was bailed out within 90 minutes, authorities say.
“A person is walking free today because he was wealthy enough to post cash bail,” Leavitt says. “It demonstrates at its heart what is wrong with Utah’s cash bail system. It doesn’t protect society. It protects the wealthy.”
UCAO Bureau Chief Patty Johnston says they are now expanding their investigation and are asking additional victims to contact their office.
“We have additional victims that are coming forward and we believe there are others,” Sgt. Cole Christensen, UCAO Bureau of Investigations Lead Investigator says. He says victims are believed to be not only in Utah, but nationwide. According to the affidavit in Holzapfel’s arrest, he claimed to have been running three businesses – Save My House, LLC; Bristle & Beard, LLC; and NILC, LLP.
If you believe you are a victim of Holzapfel’s, you are asked to contact the Utah County Attorneys Office Bureau of Investigations at 801-851-8069 or email Sgt. Christensen firstname.lastname@example.org.