The former chief financial officer of African Gold Acquisition Corp. pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after embezzling more than $5 million for personal stock and cryptocurrency ventures.

Cooper Morgenthau agreed to forfeit approximately $5.1 million and pay $5.1 million in restitution as part of his plea announced Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He is set to be sentenced in April and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Morgenthau was also charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

African Gold Acquisition Corp. is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) seeking a business to acquire and take public. African Gold began trading publicly in February 2021.

Morgenthau, as the company’s CFO, had access to its bank account. In June 2021, he began transferring money from the account to his personal account to trade in “meme stocks,” or stocks inflated by retail investors via social media campaigns, according to the SEC’s complaint. By the end of July 2021, Morgenthau allegedly misappropriated more than $1.2 million from African Gold for his trading ventures.

To conceal his actions, Morgenthau falsified bank statements and other documentation, the SEC said. He lied to the company’s auditor and signed off on publicly filed reports asserting they did not contain materially false and misleading information despite his fraud scheme. To cover missing funds, he raised approximately $4.7 million from investors through claims of launching another pair of SPACs, according to the SEC, which he ultimately misappropriated for himself to fund a series of cryptocurrency trades beginning in early 2022.

Morgenthau’s misconduct was uncovered in August, when the bank accounts of African Gold and the SPACs he claimed to be launching were empty, according to the SEC. He lost nearly all the money he stole. African Gold fired Morgenthau that month.

The SEC charged Morgenthau with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws, lying to African Gold’s auditor and accountants, knowingly falsifying African Gold’s books and records, and filing false certifications with the agency. Morgenthau consented to an officer-and-director bar and will pay financial penalties to be determined later.