The former chairman and CEO of the failed Mamtek sugar refining plant at Moberly, Bruce Cole, is in custody in Orange County, California. This morning, the Attorney General’s Office along with Randolph County Prosecutor Mike Fussellman, filed five charges in Randolph County against him related to the $39 million dollar deal.
Those felony charges are: one count of stealing with a punishment of 5 to 15 years in prison and four counts of criminal securities fraud, that each carry up to 10 years imprisonment and up to a $1 million dollar fine. Attorney General Chris Koster would not comment on whether prosecutors would seek the maximum penalties.
The charges allege Cole took at least $700,000 from the $39 million in bond money for personal use. According to the probable cause statement, Cole had an invoice created that appeared to come from “Ramwell Industrial, Inc,” requesting payment of over $4 million for Ramwell’s services, though that company never existed.
The next day, Cole had a Mamtek bookkeeper wire $700,000 to Cole’s wife, Nanette. She then made a mortgage payment of over $243,000 to stop foreclosure proceedings on the Cole’s home in Beverly Hills, California.
Koster says Cole “misrepresented or failed to disclose important facts related to the construction project.” That includes claiming that the sucralose manufacturing process to have been conducted at the Moberly plant would have created no hazardous materials, when in fact it would have.
The charges filed today also allege that Cole told Moberly that Mamtek had a fully operational sucralose plant in China when it did not, and only four to six months would be needed to build the Moberly facility when Cole believed it would take longer.
Koster says the process begins today to extradite Cole to Missouri to face the charges. Cole is being held on $500,000 bond in Orange County, California. Koster would not comment on whether additional charges might be filed or whether more people could face charges, but says the investigation is continuing.
Koster says these criminal charges have little to do with any money being recouped from the Mamtek deal, but adds, “I think that the likelihood of financial recuperation coming out of this still remains less than likely. The bankruptcy proceeding will determine that.”
The site of the Mamtek plant and all equipment there is scheduled to be auctioned off at 10:00, October 24.