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Distinguished alumni convicted in investment scam

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A North Platte High graduate, now a Colorado resident, has been convicted of scamming investors out of millions of dollars.

Tyler Tysdal, 50, graduated in 1989. He was named a distinguished alumni of North Platte High in 2016 based on his business achievements. The award has been withdrawn, school officials said.

Tysdal pled guilty to securities fraud in two cases. He faces concurrent prison sentences of up to eight years and is expected to pay restitution. His sentencing is scheduled Jan. 21.

The Denver DA’s office said Tysdal ran Cobalt Sports Capital LLC, which made short-term, high-interest loans to athletes and entertainers. In total, Cobalt, obtained more than $46 million from 77 investors, Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said.

Through a complicated financial scheme, Tysdal defrauded investors by making false and misleading statements and by omitting key facts about his business dealings and operations, McCann said.

Tysdal has agreed to pay more than $18 million in restitution, the DA said.

On paper, Tysdal looked impressive. He started his first company at age 14, attained an MBA in business from Harvard and received several business awards during his career.

He “conned people by making promises of exorbitant profits with little risk and by withholding the truth about his business dealings and operations. These are all telltale signs of a scam that reinforce the adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” the DA’s statement said. “We are pleased that we caught this skilled con artist and we thank the many victims who came forward to tell their stories.”

Separate from the Cobalt sports case, Tysdal also operated a different scam, claiming to seek investment capital to fund the national expansion of Curious Cork Imports LLC, a wine distributor.

He said Curious Cork would market fine European wines backed by celebrities and athletes and falsely claimed that the company was valued at $15 million and poised for continued success. He told investors that the company’s private label wine alone was expected to soon be worth $25 million, and that investors could expect to see a return of 10-15 times their investment, the DA said.

“Instead, three investors sustained a total loss of $500,000,” McCann said. Tysdal pled guilty in that case and agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution.

North Platte School Foundation Executive Director Terri Burchell said Tysdal was just starting his business when he received the distinguished alumni award. She said the schools foundation and the schools have monitored the Tysdal case since December 2019.

She said Tysdal had set up two scholarships with the foundation, but the funds were exhausted with the last award in 2020.

“We understand that sometimes people take a wrong path in life, and it is unfortunate,” Burchell said.

The NPHS distinguished alumni program started nearly 30 years ago, recognizing the accomplishments of North Platte High School’s most notable graduates.

A committee of foundation directors, NPHS administrators, alumni and community members review applications. Applications are good for three years.

Nominations for distinguished alumni are accepted year-round at NPPSF.org, Burchell said.

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