Utah ‘Shark Tank’ contestant arrested, accused of fraud

Local News

PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – A former ‘Shark Tank’ contestant, who calls Utah home, has been arrested in Utah County.

In 2013, Nate Holzapfel pitched 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.

Now, eight years later, 42-year-old Nate Holzapfel has been arrested in Utah County on three counts of second-degree felony communications fraud. According to Utah code, this charge is prompted when a person devises a “scheme…to defraud another or to obtain from another money, property, or anything of value by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises, or material omissions, and who communicates directly or indirectly with any person by any means for the purpose of executing or concealing the scheme or artifice.”

Court documents obtained by ABC4 show the offense took place in early February 2020, despite the documents being filed in recent weeks. After Holzapfel’s arrest, a bail of $20,000 was issued. It has since been paid.

According to the affidavit, in early 2020, investigators found Holzapfel had started a relationship with a woman “with significant health problems and a disabled, total care adult child in a wheelchair.” Authorities say Holzapfel repeatedly asked the woman about her finances, including the equity in her home. By May 2020, investigators say Holzapfel requested the woman sign a Quit Claim Deed to transfer her ownership interest in her home to ‘Save My House, LLC’ to protect her equity.

Despite the woman’s request to return the ownership back to her, Holzapfel allegedly declined and began pressuring her to instead sell her home and invest part of the equity in “another alleged business of [Holzapfel]: Bristle & Beard, LLC.” Investigators say the woman “reluctantly” agreed again. Authorities say Holzapfel did not tell the woman Bristle & Beard LLC was not an actual business. In November, the business was registered as a corporation in Utah but this came after the woman reportedly “threatened to report [Holzapfel]’s actions to law enforcement.”

During the summer of 2020, Holzapfel allegedly sold the woman’s home without her “participation or knowledge of the events.” The woman says she did not even know the amount of money Holzapfel received from the sale. Investigators say Holzapfel deposited the proceeds – over $207,000 – into a business registered in the State of Alaska “with general partners listed as [Holzapfel] and his wife.”

During his relationship with the victim, investigators say Holzapfel did not tell her about his marriage or let her speak with his family. Holzapfel allegedly used the funds from the victim’s home to pay off his own debts.

An initial appearance for Holzapfel has been scheduled for early November.

Authorities say they believe there are additional victims and are asking them to come forward as the investigation surrounding Holzapfel continues. 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 colec@utahcounty.gov

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