More victims have come forward in the case of a Utah man who appeared on an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank” and allegedly defrauded a woman he was dating out of $200,000 while already married.
According to a news release from the Utah County Attorney’s Office, Orem resident Nathanael Holzapfel, 42, the man has been charged with three additional second-degree felonies: two counts of theft by deception and one count of communications fraud, all of which stemmed from an additional victim coming forward. In October, Holzapfel was charged with three counts of communications fraud.
Holzapfel began talking to the woman on a dating app in August 2021, according to the probable cause statement. He began “grooming the victim” by telling her he would assist her with investing and then told her he would invest $50,000 from the woman’s late husband’s life insurance policy into his company, Bristol and Beard. He allegedly told her she would receive 10 percent for the next four to five years and then receive over $1 million when he sold the company.
When the woman was leaving town on a trip Sept. 17, Holzapfel told her they needed to withdraw $50,000 from her bank to invest in his company, according to the statement. Although she told him she did not want to, he “began using his tactics,” and she “reluctantly went to the bank and withdrew $50,000 that the defendant took.”
On the same day, the woman told Holzapfel she was not comfortable investing the money with him and wanted it back, but he never returned her money, according to the probable cause statement. The money was also not invested in his company, but instead used by him by changing the memo line from the withdrawal from an investment to a consulting fee.
In addition to the $50,000, Holzapfel also took an AR-15, ammunition and a vehicle from the woman, which he then sold without her permission, according to the statement. The proceeds were supposed to be invested in Holzapfel’s company but were not, and the woman never received the money from the sales.
Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said in a release that more victims coming forward indicates a “disturbing pattern of activity from an individual,” and that Sergeant Cole Christensen from the Utah County Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations is working with additional victims who have reached out.
“We have more victims coming forward,” Christensen said. “Victims are often selected by the perpetrator through social and dating apps. I urge people to exercise additional caution. Be aware of red flags, like asking for money, or investing in ventures. Protect yourself.”
Anyone with additional information or who has been victimized can reach the UCAO Bureau of Investigations at 801-851-8069 or email@example.com.