Former Mamtek CEO sentenced to 7 years

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ST. CHARLES - A judge sentenced former Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole to seven years Monday.

Cole pleaded guilty to felony stealing and fraud in September 2014 after being arrested at his home in Dana Point, California in 2012.

Cole promised to build an artificial sweetener plant in Moberly that would have brought 600 jobs and new revenue to the city. A joint investigation by the Attorney General's office and Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Fusselman revealed Cole used $700,000 of financing for personal use, including making mortgage payments on his Beverly Hills home.

One Moberly resident said this is the city council's fault.

"It embarrassed the city and it embarrassed the city council," Marvin King said. "They're ashamed to talk about it."

Moberly's City Manager Andrew Morris declined to speak to KOMU 8 News about his thoughts on Cole's sentencing.

"That process is what it is," Morris said. "We'll just let it go forward."

Other residents said they were disappointed the job opportunities did not come to fruition, as Mamtek never built the plant. 

"It's pretty much a waste, with what they did," Moberly resident Ronald Lebeck said.  "I know I was looking forward to trying to get a job."

Moberly resident Robert Lewis said he interviewed with Mamtek for a job and was grateful because it is hard for people in wheel chairs to find employment.

Lewis never received a job offer and said he was disappointed with the sentence.

"I don't think it's near enough," Lewis said. "If they doubled that, I still don't think it would be enough. He is a swindler and a con-man."

In December 2013, MFA Oil announced it would buy the vacant property where Cole's plant was supposed to go.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include more information.]