Utah ‘Shark Tank’ contestant accused of a nearly $200,000 fraud

Local News

PROVO (ABC4) – He brought in millions of dollars with his hit mission belt from ‘Shark Tank’ but, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt says a married Nathaniel Holzapfel preyed on a vulnerable woman with more possible victims out there.

“It had a lot of different moving parts to it,” says Sergeant Cole Christensen, who is investigating the case for the Utah County Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations.

Nate Holzapfel was arrested after a fraud investigation in Utah. (Utah County Attorneys Office)

“The alarm for me was the victim that we had in this first case was, she was particularly vulnerable, she had just lost her father, and was going through a grieving process there. She’s a breast cancer survivor, and she had a disabled son she totally cared for,” he says.

Court documents reveal Holzapfel pressured the woman into signing over her home, and then selling it costing the victim nearly $200,000.

“The facts will show he came along when she was vulnerable and exploited that vulnerability, and kind of ruined her financially,” says Sgt. Christensen.

“When you have an individual that prays upon the emotions of another for the express purpose allegedly of taking advantage of them financially, that’s a crime,” County Attorney Leavitt adds. “We often think that these sorts of cases are civil cases and not criminal cases, but nothing couldn’t be further from the truth. Financial crimes are violent crimes. Anything that devastates someone’s life from which is difficult to recover that is a crime of violence.”

Utah County Attorney’s Office

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt charged Holzapfel with three counts of communications fraud a 2nd-degree felony.

“Really the only way that we can do our best to serve those residents of Utah County, and quite frankly the state, and maybe the nation, are to broadcast this and to let anyone who is affected by this give us information,” he says.

ABC4’s Jason Nguyen asked the Sergeant if the case was bigger than Utah?

“Possibly, you know he is very well connected,” he says. “I know there are more victims in this case because we have already had more people come to us.”

Nate Holzapfel (Utah County Attorneys Office)

Sgt. Christensen goes on to says “once Nate has exploited an individual, he seems to move on to somebody else is what I’ve found. And so, I think there are more people out there that may have had dealings with him that may have been taken advantage of that just don’t know where to go for help.”

After charging Holzapfel, he posted bail.

“Because it was a cash bail, he posted bail within 90 minutes, he was gone, there are no conditions other than show up to court because you paid your money,” says County Attorney Leavitt.

Investigators tell us anytime someone new in your life is pressuring you about finances, it’s a major red flag you should consider, and contact local authorities for help.

If you believe you are a victim of Holzapfel, you’re asked to call 801-851-8069 and ask for Sgt. Christensen.

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