Information from the Office of Attorney General Chris Koster
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster and Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Fusselman today charged Bruce Cole, chairman and CEO of Mamtek U.S., with stealing and four counts of securities fraud.
“The failure of the $39 million investment in Moberly was a tragedy for that community,” Koster said. “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 probable cause affidavit alleges that shortly before the sale of the Mamtek bonds, Cole directed a Mamtek consultant to prepare an invoice purporting to come from “Ramwell Industrial, Inc.” This invoice requested payment of $4,062,500 for Ramwell’s services, including $3,562,500 for “Design, acquisition, and installation of five production lines,” $325,000 for engineering and design, and $175,000 for project supervision.
Cole directed that this invoice be submitted for payment even though Ramwell was never incorporated, never had any employees, never owned any property, and never provided any goods or services to Mamtek U.S. The day after the invoice was submitted, it is alleged, Cole instructed a bookkeeper for Mamtek U.S. to wire $700,000 to Cole’s wife, Nanette.
Within 48 hours of receiving the $700,000 wire from Mamtek, Nanette Cole wrote a $281,046.30 check to cash. The Coles immediately made a payment on their mortgage in the amount of $243,018.73. Shortly thereafter, the scheduled foreclosure auction of the Coles’ Beverly Hills home was canceled.
“Our charges also allege that, in securing the financing for the Mamtek facility in Moberly, Mr. Cole misrepresented or failed to disclose important facts that would affect an investor’s assessment of the viability of Mamtek’s plan to produce sucralose,” Koster said. “For example, we allege that Cole falsely represented that the sucralose manufacturing process did not include hazardous materials.”
Mamtek U.S.’s project in Moberly was funded primarily by municipal bonds issued by the Industrial Development Authority of the City of Moberly. The project collapsed after Mamtek U.S. failed to make a payment on the bond in August 2011.
The criminal complaint filed today specifically 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.
The charge of stealing is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The four charges of securities fraud carry a potential sentence of up to ten years imprisonment and up to a $1 million fine on each count.
Koster acknowledged the assistance of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on the investigation of the case.
The charges against the defendant are merely accusations. As in all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.