Sentencing delayed in nearly $2M Alabama investor scam
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An admitted con man who scammed nearly $2 million from investors told a federal judge that he was “disgusted” with himself but asked to serve at least part of his sentence on home confinement so he can access a computer to make money and repay his victims.
Kyle Sandler, 43, appeared in federal court for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to wire and securities fraud. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins said sentence guidelines indicate Sandler should spend between 63 to 78 months in prison.
Watkins delayed a sentencing decision to weigh whether Sandler would even qualify for home confinement under “brand new” changes in federal sentencing law.
During the sentencing hearing, Sandler said his crimes had been motivated by greed but he would dedicate the rest of his life to repaying victims.
“I’m disgusted with myself,” Sandler told the judge. “I’m blessed with a certain amount of intelligence. I used it to hurt people and take their money.”
Sandler said that if he was allowed to serve part of his sentence on home confinement that he could use his skills to make money and beginning pay $1.9 million in restitution.
Prosecutors objected to Sandler’s request.
“Home confinement is not appropriate,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson said. “If we do not impose a sentence of 63 months, it will not deter.”
Four of Sandler’s victims attended the court hearing. One urged the judge to hand down a stiff sentence.
“I urge you to sentence him to the maximum that you can,” said Chuck Wacker, who invested with Sandler.
Sandler moved to the east Alabama town of Opelika (Oh-puh-LIE-kuh) in 2011 and later opened a business incubator called the Round House. He pleaded guilty last year to fraud for taking about $1.9 million from more than 50 investors.
Sandler told The Associated Press in a series of recent telephone interviews from jail that he falsely portrayed himself as a one-time Google executive and acted out of greed.
He said he used John McAfee, who developed early internet security software, and Taylor Rosenthal, a teen who had an idea for a new kind of first aid vending machine, to help gain publicity for his operation.
Wacker said he was particularly concerned that Sandler exploited a teen investor to lure investors.