Provo entrepreneur who appeared on Shark Tank on charges of defrauding a woman

Provo’s Nate Holzapfel appears on the TV show “Shark Tank” to describe his company’s belts. Crab apple is now charged with cheating on a woman out of nearly $ 200,000, and investigators believe he may have bullied others. (Youtube)

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PROVO – A Utah County entrepreneur, best known for wearing a belt for missionaries and others on the TV show Shark Tank, was charged with cheating on a woman of nearly $ 200,000 in losing her home. which investigators say was built specifically to house their disabled son.

Investigators with the Utah Prosecutor’s Office believe there are other women who may have fallen victim to Nathanael “Nate” Reid Crab Apple.

Sgt. Cole Christensen of the Utah County Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations said his office is in contact with several other potential victims from across the state.

“He’s looking for a certain type of woman,” said Christensen of Holzapfel’s alleged modus operandi.

Investigators assume that Crab Apple meets women through dating apps and tries to find out their financial situation shortly afterwards. Then he addresses women who are “vulnerable”, such as women who recently lost a loved one and have insurance funds, Christensen said.

Holzapfel, 42, of Provo, was tried in the 4th District Court on August 30th on three counts of communications fraud, a second degree felony. An arrest warrant was issued against his arrest and he was booked in the Utah County Jail on Tuesday. About 90 minutes later, Holzapfel was able to leave the bail. His first appearance in court is planned for November 3rd.

Holzapfel, who is married, began a romantic relationship in February 2020 with “a divorced person with significant health problems” who is prosecuted to care for her disabled adult son who uses a wheelchair.

Shortly after dating the woman, police said Holzapfel began inquiring about the woman’s financial situation, including her equity, which she said she had about $ 200,000.

“(Crabapple) started telling (the woman) that there was something she had to do to protect the equity in her home. (He told her he) had a company called Save My House, LLC that did the equity in could protect her home and save her from paying high capital gains taxes if she has to sell the home, “the indictments say.

May 2020, Holzapfel brought the woman “as a surprise” to a title company and “urged” her to sign a pre-written deed transferring ownership of the woman’s house to Save My House, the indictment said.

The woman initially refused to sign and later told investigators she was confused but eventually signed. The prosecution alleges that a witness from the title company told investigators “that it was evident that (the woman) did not want to sign the letter of resignation, but eventually gave in and signed.”

In signing the title, Holzapfel failed to tell the woman that he “had financial problems, was recently sued and a default judgment of $ 250,000 was issued against him,” the prosecution said.

Holzapfel was sued by Larry King Enterprises in 2018 for allegedly using a bogus interview that King agreed to as a favor that Holzapfel privately brought to TV producers to try to get on their shows. Instead, he “used false pretenses to get Larry King to participate in a bogus interview, and then violated the plaintiffs’ common law trademarks and publishing rights to create the appearance that Larry King (Crabapple) was promoting commercial activities, despite the fact that he was.” actually did not do this “. so “, it says in the lawsuit.

After signing the certificate, Mrs. Holzapfel announced that she had changed her mind. But court documents say Holzapfel began to ignore requests and put pressure on her to sell her home, which was furnished specifically for her disabled son, and invest some of her equity in another of his businesses called Bristle & Beard, LLC.

The woman eventually relented and “reluctantly” sold her home, the indictment said, but “the alleged Bristle & Beard, LLC business was not a real deal at the time.”

Holzapfel sold the woman’s home in August 2020 without telling the woman how much money he had been charged with making it, and then deposited nearly $ 208,000 with an Alaska-registered LLP that listed Holzapfel and his wife as general partners.

After receiving a $ 207,773 transfer from the sale of the woman’s house on September 1, 2020, he began transferring the funds to other accounts and “used those funds to cover existing personal debts on his motor vehicle To pay legal fees and credit cards “. and buy expensive luxury items such as firearms and gun accessories. Between September 1, 2020 and January 14, 2021, over $ 159,000 received from the sale of the victim’s home was transferred and spent for his sole benefit in the state.

Police believe the woman was paid only $ 11,000 to sell her home.

“During (Holzapfel’s) romantic advertisements and promised business relationships with (the woman) (he), (she) refused to have any contact with his family and failed to tell (her) that he was still married,” it says the prosecution.

When the woman threatened to go to the police in November, she said that Holzapfel had broken off contact with her and “disappeared”.

In the affidavit of the arrest warrant issued in September, the investigating officer reported that he had made numerous attempts to contact Holzapfel and his lawyer, but had not heard from either of them since May. The officer also monitored the address listed on Holzapfel’s driver’s license, which was a motel in Orem, but found no evidence that he lived there.

Christensen said the case is a good reminder that it’s not just kids who need to be careful with social media apps.

“We always talk about internet safety for children. … Sometimes we forget ourselves and our online activities, ”he said.

Although Christensen said many of the potential victims he spoke to feel embarrassed about their experience, he encouraged others who may have had contact with Crabapple and are in the same situation to call the Utah District Attorney at 435-815-8069 or email him directly at [email protected]

“Our office and its investigators focus on crimes that harm people. Financial crimes like this are clearly life changing events for victims to face arrest and charge because the evidence backs them up. The victims deserve no less, “Utah District Attorney David Leavitt said in a prepared statement.

Holzapfel’s lawyer did not immediately call back Wednesday to respond to the allegations.

Holzapfel appeared on the 2013 TV show “Shark Tank” when he set up his belt company Mission Belt. Fashion mogul Daymond John agreed to invest in the belt company during the show. Mission Belt became very successful after Holzapfel’s appearance at Shark Tank. The belts are popular with missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The company also says it will donate $ 1 for every belt sold to developing countries to support entrepreneurship, as well as food and clothing.

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