Former SPAC CFO sentenced to 3 years for $5m crypto fraud
A former chief financial officer of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) was given a jail term of three years for stealing $5 million intended to be used for trading cryptocurrencies and meme stocks.
Cooper Morgenthau took five million dollars in ill-gotten gains from three separate businesses, only to blow virtually all of it trading cryptocurrencies and so-called meme stocks.
According to a press release issued by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 27, it was stated that Cooper Morgenthau, the former chief financial officer of African Gold Acquisition Corp. (AGAC), stole money from three different SPACs between June 2021 and August 2022. These SPACs include AGAC, Strategic Metals Acquisition Corp I (SMAC I), and Strategic Metals Acquisition Corp II (SMAC II).
The civil complaint states that Morgenthau moved roughly $1.2 million in cash from African Gold to his private accounts, losing virtually all of the money.
After the company suffered losses, he gave forged documents to accountants and an auditor at African Gold before the company’s public filing with the SEC. This action resulted in “material misstatements” being included in the company’s publicly available financial records.
While this was happening, Morgenthau raised an additional $4.7 million from private investors in a SPAC not associated with African Gold. His pitch to these investors was that the money would be used to launch yet another SPAC.
Later Morgenthau utilized the newly generated funds to pay his losses at African Gold and pursue further trading of cryptocurrencies and meme stocks.
After discovering the withdrawals in August 2022, African Gold terminated Morgenthau’s employment and alerted the SEC of his unethical behavior. On January 3, Morgenthau, who lives in Florida, entered a guilty plea to one count of committing fraud. In addition to receiving a jail term of three years, the judge ordered him to pay restitution and forfeiture of $5.1 million and to serve his prison sentence.