Former Bell Mayor Sentenced to Home Confinement in Corruption Case

The Bell saga continues as former Mayor George Cole was sentenced today to 180 days of home confinement. The judge also ordered Cole to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Prosecutors were pushing for Cole to be sentenced to four years in state prison after he was convicted last year of stealing from the city’s treasury. He was caught collecting an oversized salary and later pleaded guilty to an additional corruption charge.

Cole described himself as a devoted leader during the trial. He told the jury that he attempted to give up his almost six-figure salary to charity. 

Like other Bell city officials, Cole blamed former city manager Robert Rizzo—who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison—for much of the city’s corrupt actions. Cole testified that Rizzo told him to take his large salary, which included money for serving on various commissions that rarely (or never) met. 

In addition to his community service and home confinement, Cole was ordered to pay $77,000 in restitution.