A man who allegedly frauded the elderly out of hundreds of thousands of dollars was arraigned Thursday in federal court.
Kurt Jurgens Bauer, 56, a former Kane County resident residing in Las Vegas, is accused of soliciting money from victims with fraudulent promises that he was on the verge of receiving hundreds of millions of dollars – even billions – and would be able to pay a large return on their investment.
“This case involves a defendant who allegedly exploited the trust of hardworking and honest people, including elderly citizens of Southern Utah and Nevada,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber in a press release. “We prioritize investigations and prosecutions involving elderly victims. As I’ve said before – we revere our elders, we do not defraud them,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today. “This case is also a priority for us because it includes allegations Bauer impersonated federal judges and a federal court administrator as a part of his fraud scheme.”
Bauer is charged with three counts of wire fraud and two counts of false impersonation of an employee of the United States in a recently unsealed indictment. The arraignment took place before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Kohler in St. George. Bauer is in custody. His continued detention status was also considered during the hearing.
“Kurt Bauer is suspected of praying on some of the most vulnerable people in our community. We take fraud violations seriously, especially when these crimes are committed against the elderly who tend to be more trusting of such schemes. We will continue to work with our partners in the FBI and US Attorney’s Office to aggressively pursue, investigate and prosecute cases like the one involving Kurt Bauer,” Kane County Sheriff Tracy Glover said in an official statement.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2011 and continuing until April 2020, Bauer devised an advance-fee scheme to solicit money from victims using a variety of what the indictment alleges were fraudulent representations and promises.
Bauer told victims that the United States District Court for the District of Nevada had frozen funds owed to him, according to the indictment. Bauer told victims that the court required “bond” payments to secure the frozen funds, and he solicited victims to make the payments – often on a weekly basis, the indictment alleges. Bauer had various explanations for the court’s action, a press release stated.
Bauer represented to victim investors that the court was going to release funds to him in the near future. Once the funds were released, the victims would receive large returns in exchange for their upfront payments. Bauer received more than $300,000 from victims, including at least $200,000 from victims identified as C.B., age 82, and L.B., age 80, in the indictment.
To further the alleged scheme, Bauer created false identities of a New York attorney, a federal court employee, and a billionaire that he used to make misrepresentations to and solicit payments from victims. The indictment also alleges he created phone numbers and email accounts for the false identities. Communications between the victims and the false identities were actually between the victims and Bauer or one of his accomplices.
Bauer was arrested following the return of the sealed federal indictment in late July. He had an initial appearance on the charges on July 30, 2020, in federal court in St. George.
He faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud and up to three years for each count of false impersonation of an employee of the United States if convicted of the charges. Indictments are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged in an indictment are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.