Startup maestro dupes Alabama town through network of lies

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — When Kyle Sandler rolled into Opelika (Oh-puh-LIE-kuh), he cast himself as a former Google executive who got rich on the West Coast and decided to move to the Alabama town.

He talked about startups and high-tech innovation. He always seemed to be in search of the next big thing and drove a Jaguar in a town full of pickups.

So people bit when Sandler opened a business incubator called the Round House and proclaimed himself its “conductor.”

Authorities say Sandler raked in investments totaling about $1.9 million from 50-plus investors and diverted their money to personal expenses such as child care, rent and cars.

In exclusive interviews from jail with The Associated Press, Sandler says he never intended to pull off a massive scam but greed got the best of him.

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