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Utah YouTuber pleads no contest to making fraudulent AAA claims


ST. GEORGE, Utah ( — A Hurricane, Utah man who runs a popular YouTube channel called “Matt’s Off Road Recovery” has pleaded no contest to charges claiming that he fraudulently collected money from AAA through his company, Winder Towing.

Matthew David Wetzel, 46, pleaded no contest to false or fraudulent insurance claim, a class A misdemeanor, on Feb. 22 and will be required to pay back the money received from the disputed claims.

Wetzel’s attorney, Jason Velez, said the plea means that there was a dispute over the process rather than the substance of the claims.

“My client felt this resolution provided an opportunity to move forward and focus on serving others,” Velez said.

Between January 2019 and August 2020, Wetzel collected over $15,000 from AAA to cover claims that were misrepresented, according to charging documents. The charges were filed after the Utah Insurance Fraud Division received a complaint and completed an investigation into the claims.

The investigator said Wetzel maintained that there was a service tied with each job but did admit to providing service at other times, which means the claims contained false information. Charging documents also say the claims misrepresented which vehicle was towed and where a vehicle was towed.

Fifth District Judge Jeffrey Wilcox ordered Wetzel to serve 18 months of probation and pay fines, including $15,328 to AAA and $1,745 to Utah’s insurance fraud division.

Velez said they recognize there were “technical violations” in the claims, but said Wetzel’s conduct matched the spirit of customer service that AAA has a reputation for.

“Matt will continue to serve his community, the people of Hurricane and southern Utah as he always has, coming to the aid of all those who need him. He plans on fully complying with the probation agreement, seeking early termination of probation and other benefits as set forth therein,” the attorney said.

Richard Piatt, spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s Office, said prosecutors are satisfied with the outcome.

“Because Mr. Wetzel admitted guilt, agreed to pay full restitution and comply with the terms of his plea agreement, we’re satisfied that justice has been served in this case,” Piatt said.

Wetzel’s YouTube channel, which shows him rescuing vehicles that are stuck off-road in southern Utah, has over 1 million subscribers.

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