PROVO, Utah (KTVX) – Utah investigators have arrested a former “Shark Tank” contestant, accusing him of defrauding a vulnerable woman and asking other victims to come forward.
Nate Holzapfel, 42, 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 investigators said he “engaged in a scheme and course of deception to defraud a vulnerable” woman of $196,000.
According to the affidavit, investigators found Holzapfel had started a relationship with a woman “with significant health problems and a disabled, total care adult child in a wheelchair” in early 2020. Authorities said Holzapfel repeatedly asked the woman about her finances, including the equity in her home. By May 2020, investigators said 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 said the woman “reluctantly” agreed again. Authorities said 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.”
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.
Court documents obtained by KTVX show the offense took place in early February 2020, despite the documents being filed in recent weeks. Holzapfel was booked into the Utah County Jail before making bail.
The Utah County Attorney’s Office said it is expanding their investigation and are asking additional victims to contact the office.
“We have additional victims that are coming forward and we believe there are others,” Sgt. Cole Christensen, UCAO Bureau of Investigations Lead Investigator said. He said 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 Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations at 801-851-8069 or email Sgt. Christensen firstname.lastname@example.org.