COLUMBIA, Mo., Sept. 2 -- The Missouri Attorney General issued the following news release:
Attorney General Chris Koster announced that Bruce Cole, former CEO of the failed Mamtek project in Moberly, pleaded guilty today in St. Charles County Circuit Court to one count of felony stealing and two counts of securities fraud. As part of the plea agreement, Cole will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and no more than seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Koster announced the plea agreement at an afternoon press conference in Columbia after appearing on behalf of the state in St. Charles County Circuit Court at a 1:30 p.m. hearing.
"Bruce Cole knowingly deceived the city of Moberly and investors about the Mamtek project and kept bond money for his own personal use," Koster said. "He will be held accountable for his actions by a sentence of at least five years in a Missouri prison."
Koster said Mamtek's failed manufacturing project in Moberly received $39 million in municipal bonds issued by the Industrial Development Authority of the City of Moberly in July 2010. The project collapsed after Mamtek U.S. failed to make a debt payment in August 2011.
A subsequent investigation of the Mamtek project by the Attorney General's Office and Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Fusselman revealed that Cole used more than $700,000 of Mamtek financing for his personal use, including $281,046 to stop the foreclosure of his Beverly Hills home in California. Cole also secured authority to claim tax credits based on the promise that the project would create hundreds of new jobs within months. However, investigators determined Cole made those promises knowing they were false. In September 2012, Koster and Fusselman charged Cole with stealing and securities fraud.
Cole pleaded guilty today in St. Charles County Circuit Court, where the case was moved on a change of venue from Randolph County. He will be sentenced to a term of no less than five years, and no more than seven years, in prison at a later date. Pursuant to the agreement to plead guilty in Missouri, the federal government will close its criminal prosecution of Cole.
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