An official who painted grand plans for a factory in Clay County that turned out to be a scam was sentenced Tuesday to three years and one month in prison for helping steal $1.32 million from a contractor on the project.
David R. Bennett also is liable for $1.32 million in restitution as part of his plea deal with prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove sentenced Bennett Tuesday in federal court in Frankfort.
Bennett was a managing member of a Florida company called Waste Not Technologies that told state and local officials in 2009 that it would build a factory in Manchester to turn residential garbage into building materials and other products.
Officials with Waste Not Technologies said the company would hire more than 1,400 workers — welcome news in a county with few jobs and a high poverty rate.
The company hired Elza Construction, a Laurel County company, to do excavation and grading work at the purported factory site in Manchester.
Bennett took part in getting Elza to pay $1.32 million as a guarantee that his company could complete the job.
Bennett told Elza the money would be used only to help Waste Not Technologies get more financing, and that the company had the money to repay Elza, according to a court document.
In reality, Bennett and others took the money. The company never built the factory and did not repay Elza.
Elza’s company filed for bankruptcy in May 2011, listing a $1.9 million loan to finance its work on the factory site as one of its largest liabilities.
Two others charged in the case, Izhar H. Syed and attorney Daniel R. Goodwin, are awaiting sentencing.
A fourth man charged in scam, Sidney A. Tarrant, hasn’t been located, according to a court document.