By Morgan Bryce
A 40-year prison sentence and fine of $5 million are possible penalties faced by “The Roundhouse LLC” founder and Opelika businessman Kyle Sandler, who plead guilty to two fraud charges in federal court last Wednesday.
According to a press release from the Middle District of Alabama’s U.S. Attorney Office, Sandler admitted guilty to counts of wire and security fraud in court, though no sentencing date was announced for those charges.
Sandler formed The Roundhouse LLC in October 2014 with the hopes of creating a “hub for Opelika start-ups.” The business first operated out of The Depot on Railroad Avenue, and moved into the old Woolsworth building on South 8th Street in 2016.
During this time, Sandler was actively “soliciting and accepting over $1.8 million dollars from more than 50 investors in a scheme to defraud them,” according to an excerpt from the release. Money he obtained from those investors were instead used for “personal expenses such as childcare services, rent payments, purchases of automobiles and other personal needs,” leaving many with no return on their investment.
Sandler also concocted erroneous stories regarding his background to deceive investors, claiming to be a successful entrepreneur and “employee #240” at Google, an assertion that Google representatives confirmed to Observer staff as false in December 2016.
“Sandler led people to believe he was a legitimate business man,” said U.S. Attorney Franklin. “He took advantage of a community that trusted him as a business leader. We hope that this prosecution sends a clear message that such conduct will not be tolerated.”
In June, the Observer reported that Sandler had been arrested on Lee County warrants in Bryan, Texas, and was being extradited back to the area to face trial for those charges. Weeks later, court records showed that he was placed under a $50,000 bond and under house arrest at his current residence in Jasper, Alabama. Given an ankle bracelet to monitor his activity, his only trips could be to and from court.
An application filed on Sandler’s behalf earlier this month will enable him to “plead guilty on information” in court Aug. 30 regarding a first-degree theft of property charge that he faces in Lee County.
Check the Observer for updates as this story continues to develop.