Posted: Sep 18, 2012 11:12 AM by Mychaela Bruner
Updated: Sep 18, 2012 1:59 PM
MOBERLY - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Fusselman charged Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole Tuesday with stealing and four counts of securities fraud.
Cole allegedly submitted an invoice for $4,062,500 for the services of "Ramwell Industrial, Inc." Investigators found that Ramwell was never incorporated, never had employees, never owned any property and never provided anything to Mamtek. The day after the invoice was submitted, Cole allegedly told a Mamtek bookkeeper to wire his wife $700,000. Within 48 hours of receiving the wire transfer, Cole's wife cashed a check she wrote for $281,046.30 and then the Coles made a payment on their mortgage of their Beverly Hills home in the amount of $243,018.73. Shortly after the payment was made, the scheduled foreclosure of the Coles's home was canceled.
"The failure of the $39 million investment in Moberly was a tragedy for that community," Koster said in a news release. "Today we have alleged that Mr. Cole deceived the city and the investors about the project and unlawfully profited from the investment by taking at least $700,000 from the bond money for his own personal use."
The criminal complaint filed alleges that Cole:
• Committed stealing by deceit by appropriating at least $25,000 for his own personal use;
• Committed securities fraud by using Ramwell as an artifice to defraud by using the name "Ramwell" to obtain bond disbursements from Mamtek U.S. when he actually planned to use the funds for other purposes, including the payment of $700,000 to Cole's wife for personal use;
• Represented to the issuer of the bonds that Mamtek's manufacturing processes would neither require nor produce any hazardous substances, when Mamtek's manufacturing processes called for the use of either triphosgene or thionyl chloride, both of which are hazardous chemicals,
• Represented to the issuer of the bonds that Mamtek operated a fully functional sucralose production facility in China, when that plant was not, at that time, producing sucralose, and;
• Represented to the issuer of the bonds that just four to six months would be needed to build the facility and make it fully operational, when Cole believed it would take longer to make a production facility functional in the United States.
Cole could face up to 15 years in prison for the stealing charge. Cole also faces up to ten years in prison and up to a $1 million fine on each of the four counts of securities fraud.
Mamtek was billed as an artificial sweetener plant and promised 600 jobs to Moberly when the projected was announced in 2010. Construction of the plant halted last year after Mamtek was unable to make payments on $39 million of bonds issued by the city.
Attorney General Chris Koster says, "I think that when a community of Moberly's size has an incident like this take place, it actually affects all small communities throughout the state because it makes the investments in those small communities... it adds risks. It calls into question that the security of different investments all over the state of Missouri. So, at various levels, I think there are a lot of victims."