Judge approves reduced bond for ex-Mamtek CEO

Jordan Shapiro, Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A Missouri judge reduced the bail Friday for the former head of the failed Moberly artificial sweetener plant.

Bruce Cole, 65, the former chief executive of Mamtek U.S. Inc., has been accused of perpetrating a massive fraud by persuading Moberly to issue $39 million in bonds to fund an artificial sweetener facility that collapsed financially before construction finished. He has been charged with one count of theft and four counts of securities fraud related to the industrial development bonds issued by the city.

Cole had been held on $500,000 bond, but Judge Russell Steele reduced that to $100,000. Cole will have to put up only $10,000 in cash to be released from Randolph County jail.

Steele cited Cole's lack of financial resources and lack of prior convictions in reducing his bail. If released, Cole could return to his California home and remain under house arrest. He will be subject to electronic monitoring and be required to surrender his passport.

"I am pleased that Mr. Cole's bond was reduced to a reasonable and fair level," Cole's attorney, Raymond Legg, said in an emailed statement.

A spokeswoman for the Missouri Attorney General's office said it did not have a comment on the ruling Friday.

Steele also granted another one of Cole's motions Friday, agreeing to reveal what deals the state made with witnesses testifying against him.