The man who scammed Moberly, the state, and investors out of millions of dollars over a promised artificial sweetener plant has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Former CEO of Mamtek Bruce Cole pleaded guilty in September to one count of theft and two counts of securities fraud. Seven years was the maximum Cole could be sentenced to under the plea deal. He had been facing 55 years in prison.
Cole had promised to bring some 600 jobs to Moberly to produce sucralose in a process he claimed was patented and had been used in the company’s plant in China as well as $8 million in private capital. In fact, Mamtek had no patents, the factory it had an interest in, in China, had not produced sucralose on a commercial scale, and the plant that was partially built in Moberly did not meet safety or environmental standards. Construction on that site ended in August 2011.
After Governor Jay Nixon and former Governor Bob Holden joined Cole in announcing the Mamtek plant in 2010, Moberly officials agreed to issue $39-million in bonds through the city’s Industrial Development Authority and the state promised $17.6 million in tax credits and incentives.
Investment banking firm Morgan Keegan underwrote the bonds. It is now faced with a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the investors who bought those bonds.
Some of the money that was supposed to have gone Ramwell Industrial, which turned out to be a fake engineering firm, went to make a payment on the $6-million home Cole shared with his wife in Beverly Hills, California.