Local fund manager Tyler Tysdal has pleaded guilty to two criminal counts of securities fraud by omission nearly two years after settling with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tysdal, 50, pleaded guilty to the state counts on Thursday — one count in each of the two criminal cases against him, court records show.
“Tyler Tysdal conned people by making promises of exorbitant profits with little risk and by withholding the truth about his business dealings and operations,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement to BusinessDen.“These are all telltale signs of a scam that reinforces the adage: ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’ We are pleased that we caught this skilled con artist and we thank the many victims who came forward to tell their stories.”
Tysdal is scheduled to be sentenced in January. He faces concurrent prison sentences of up to eight years, and is also expected to pay at least $2 million in up-front restitution as part of his plea agreement, according to the District Attorney’s Office. In total, he has agreed to pay $18.5 million in restitution between the two cases.
Tysdal was indicted on 67 counts in the first case in December 2019: 64 criminal counts of securities fraud, as well as one count each of theft, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.
The second case with three additional counts of securities fraud was added last December.
A copy of the initial indictment obtained by BusinessDen in 2019 stated that approximately 77 investors — including several notable professional and college football players — put $46 million into Cobalt Sports Capital, an entity Tysdal and business partner Grant Carter formed to make loans to athletes and sports agencies.
Tysdal and Carter failed to disclose a host of material facts to those investors, including that, due to a lack of profits, Cobalt was paying early investors with money put up by new investors, the indictment alleged.
Ultimately, “nearly all of the investors sustained losses, with a total loss to all investors of several million dollars,” the indictment read.
Alleged victims included former NFL quarterbacks Matt Cassel, who with his wife invested $1 million in 2013 and 2014, and Carson Palmer, who with his wife invested $2.05 million between 2014 and 2016.
The second case involved Tysdal seeking investment capital to fund the national expansion plans of a wine distribution company called Curious Cork Imports LLC, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
On the federal level, Tysdal agreed in September 2019 to a $1.1 million settlement with the SEC for his role in what the commission described as “multiple schemes to defraud investors.” He accepted the settlement without admitting to or denying the wrongdoing outlined by the SEC.
A receiver appointed in October 2016 to oversee entities overseen by Tysdal previously said in court records that Cobalt “was run as a Ponzi scheme,” and repaid loans from relatives and close associates, including his parents and wife’s grandparents, ahead of other lenders.
Tysdal, who has an MBA from Harvard, is married to former local TV news anchor Natalie Tysdal, who left her role at sister stations KWGN and Fox31 earlier this year.
Tysdal is represented by attorney Fredric Winocur of Ridley, McGreevey, Wincour.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with additional information regarding sentencing and the second criminal case. A reference to the amount of time since Tysdal reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been corrected.