ST. GEORGE, UTAH – Kurt Bauer 57, of Kanab, Utah, was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to three counts of wire fraud and two counts of falsely impersonating U.S. government employees in connection with an advanced-fee scheme. Bauer was also ordered to pay $856,422 in restitution to the victims of his crimes.
According to the plea agreement, between 2011 and 2020, Bauer created a fraudulent scheme where he told his victims that he was entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars—even billions—which were frozen in federal court proceedings. Bauer promised his victims that he would pay them large amounts of money if they would pay Bauer money up front, which he would then use to pay court fees to obtain the money frozen in the federal court proceedings. Bauer promised all of his victims large returns on their upfront investment. Bauer received at least $200,000 from two victims who were 80 and 82 years old, respectively, over the course of the scheme.
In order to carry out the fraud, Bauer created the false identities of a New York attorney, a federal court employee, and a billionaire, which he used to communicate with and solicit money from the victims of the scheme. Bauer would use these identities to solicit funds from these victims on a regular—sometimes weekly—basis. Bauer would tell his victims that the money in the federal court proceedings would be released soon and that he needed the funds to pay a “bond” which was required by the court. Bauer also impersonated federal judges and a federal court administrator during the scheme in order to convince the victims that the court proceedings were real, and to persuade victims to continue making payments.
In reality, Bauer had no prospects of receiving money from federal court proceedings; had relatively little wealth; and used the victims’ moneys on credit card payments, hotel bills, restaurants, and other personal expenses.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. Special Agents from the FBI conducted the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office worked closely with the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and Kane County Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case.