Small-Town Scandal Leads to Big-Time Fraud Charges

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announces felony charges against former Mamtek U.S. CEO Bruce Cole outside the failed business in Moberly, Mo., on Sept. 18 Photograph by Kit Doyle/Columbia Daily Tribune/AP Photo

In 2010, Bruce Cole, a Beverly Hills lawyer with a dubious record as a businessman, made a lot of promises to the town of Moberly, Mo. He said he would relocate his company from China and build a state-of-the-art factory to manufacture sucralose, an artificial sweetener. He said he had a lot of connections to a lot of wealthy people in China. He said other companies would likely follow his company, Mamtek, to Missouri. Moberly officials, eager for the jobs and beguiled by the idea of investment from China, quickly issued $39 million worth of municipal bonds for Mamtek U.S. The company spent most of the money but never finished the facility. It defaulted on its bond payments in the summer of 2011 and then declared bankruptcy. Cole was never heard from again.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.