Moberly, Mo. - The man accused of ripping off the city of Moberly in a failed sweetener plant operation pleaded guilty to three of five counts against him in St. Charles County court Tuesday afternoon.
67-year-old Bruce Cole pleaded guilty to one count of theft and two counts of fraud.
Attorney General Chris Koster recommended a sentence of 5-7 years for each count to be served concurrently. Cole will get credit for time served once he is sentenced.
Koster said he tries to argue a few local cases each year, this one helping Randolph County Prosecutor Mike Fusselman. Koster called his recommendation a serious punishment for the crime, but felt there could have been a better outcome.
"A better outcome would have been getting the money back for the investors. The $39, $40 million dollars. That was, we were unable to do that because the money is gone, the money has been squandered. But this is an appropriate resolution to the case," said Koster.
Cole did not make any statements in court, and will appear for sentencing on November 3rd.
Cole came to Mid-Missouri in 2010 promising his company, Mamtek, would build an artificial sweetener plant in Moberly and bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
Cole took advantage of state of and local tax breaks and received $39 million in bonds from the city of Moberly.
The company never started construction and declared bankruptcy in 2011.