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Press Release

Former Chief Financial Officer Of Two SPACs Pleads Guilty To Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Cooper Morgenthau Embezzled More Than $5 Million and Caused False Statements to Be Made to Accountant and Auditor and in SEC Filings

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that COOPER MORGENTHAU, the former chief financial officer of two special purpose acquisition companies (“SPAC-1” and “SPAC-2”), pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to embezzle more than $5 million from the two companies.  The defendant pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Cooper Morgenthau, the former CFO of two SPACs, has admitted that he breached the trust that he owed to his public and private investors, stealing millions of dollars from them to trade meme stocks and cryptocurrencies.  This Office remains committed to rooting out fraud in the SPAC market and to protecting Main Street investors from abuses on Wall Street.”

According to the allegations in the Information and statements made in public court proceedings:

Between in or about June 2021 and in or about August 2022, MORGENTHAU, who was the CFO of SPAC-1 and SPAC-2, embezzled more than $5 million from the two companies.   SPAC-1 had recently had its initial public offering, while SPAC-2 was raising money from private investors in preparation for its anticipated IPO.  MORGENTHAU used the embezzled funds to trade equities and options of so-called “meme stocks” and cryptocurrencies, losing almost all of the money that he stole.  To conceal and facilitate his embezzlement from SPAC-1, MORGENTHAU fabricated bank statements, which he provided to SPAC-1’s accountant and auditor; made and caused to be made material misstatements in SPAC-1’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”); and transferred some of SPAC-2’s funds to SPAC-1 to cover up the funds he had misappropriated from SPAC-1. 

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MORGENTHAU, 35, of Fernandina Beach, Florida, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  As part of his guilty plea, MORGENTHAU agreed to forfeit $5,111,335 and to pay restitution of $5,111,335. 

The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  MORGENTHAU is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Engelmayer on April 25, 2023. 

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Mr. Williams further thanked the SEC for its assistance and cooperation in this investigation. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force and Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua A. Naftalis and Anden Chow are in charge of the prosecution. 


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated January 3, 2023

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-001