CRIME

Shark Tank star charged with defrauding “vulnerable” woman

Oct 6, 2021, 6:27 PM | Updated: 6:30 pm
Shark Tank star Nate Holzapfel...
Photo of Nate Holzapfel, former Shark Tank star now charged with fraud. Photo credit: Utah County District Attorney.

PROVO, Utah — The Utah man who starred on the Shark Tank reality show with a company called Mission Belt has been charged with three counts of communications fraud. And prosecutors think there might be more victims nationwide. 

Nathanael Holzapfel, who was on the reality television program Shark Tank in 2013, is now accused of convincing a woman described as “vulnerable” to sign over ownership of her house to a company he owned. Holzapfel is also accused of later selling that house without the woman’s knowledge and keeping most of the profits — all while married to another woman.    

The timeline

A probable cause statement says Shark Tank star Holzapfel started dating the woman in February 2020. It said the woman was divorced, had “significant health problems,” and an adult child in a wheelchair.

Holzapfel allegedly started inquiring about her equity and told her he could protect the nearly $200,000 she had in her house from high capital gains taxes if she had to sell.

In May of 2020, he reportedly took the woman to a title company and convinced her to transfer the home into a company he owned called Save My House, LLC.

Other reading: Utah County attorney will no longer seek death penalty

According to a witness at the title company, the woman was hesitant to sign the Quit Claim Deed, but the probable cause statement said she did so because of her growing love for him. She reportedly asked Holzapfel to reverse that deed several times, to which he refused. 

Holzapfel is said to have pressured the woman to sell her home and invest half the equity in another company called Bristle & Beard. Then, she reportedly reluctantly agreed to that as well, but prosecutors allege that business did not exist at the time.

Shark Tank star is accused of selling victim’s home without her knowing

In August 2020, the probable cause statement says Holzapfel sold the woman’s home, without her knowledge. The woman told prosecutors Holzapfel handled all the negotiations and paperwork. He is accused of depositing the net proceeds, $207,773.14 into a business account owned by Holzapfel and his wife.

Prosecutors say Holzapfel was married the entire time he was dating the woman he reportedly defrauded. They say he didn’t tell the woman that he was married, or that he was facing financial problems from a $250,000 lawsuit. The Blast reported he owed that money to Larry King’s talk show. The Blast reported that King sued Holzapfel after making an interview look like King endorsed him. 

The probable cause statement says Holzapfel began transferring the money from the sale of the home to other accounts.

Prosecutors allege Holzapfel was using the money to pay off “personal debts on his motor vehicle, attorney fees, credit cards, and to purchase expensive luxury items like firearms and gun supplies.” 

How much money did he spend? 

Holzapfel reportedly gave $11,000 from the sale of the home to the victim. In total he reportedly defrauded her of $196,773.

The woman says she threatened to report him to the police. That’s when he cut off all contact with her and disappeared.

Prosecutors think there are more victims of the Shark Tank star

On Wednesday Holzapfel was arrested. He quickly posted $20,000 in bail.

A person is walking free today because he was wealthy enough to post cash bail,” said Utah County Attorney David Leavitt. “It demonstrates at its heart what is wrong with Utah’s cash bail system.”

Leavitt’s office says they have been in touch with more victims.

Related: Criminal justice reform needed now, says Utah County attorney

“We have additional victims that are coming forward and we believe there are others,” said Sgt. Cole Christensen, UCAO Bureau of Investigations Lead Investigator.

“Please contact me to assess the evidence to hold this person accountable,”.

Reach the Utah County Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations at 801-851-8069 or colec@utahcounty.gov. 

 

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