Trevor Milton, the founder and former CEO of Nikola Corporation, a giant EV maker, is accused of various fraudulent activities. Is this true?
The founder and former CEO of Nikola, Trevor Milton, is currently facing various fraudulent activity charges after prosecutors discovered that he fooled retail investors with his so-called One Semi-Truck, even though it is not yet completed.
Experts explained that the Nikola founder engaged in a fraudulent scheme to deceive retail investors” for his own personal benefit. This accusation was stated in the recently released indictment by the United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan last Thursday, July 29.
Nikola‘s former CEO was charged with two counts of security fraud and wire fraud by a federal grand jury. Specifically, prosecutors detailed in the complaint how Milton used social media and frequent appearances on television in a PR blitz that flooded the market with false and misleading information about EV makers before the company even produced a product.
The charges reflect a fast and furious run for Nikola and Milton, who founded the company in 2015. Milton received more attention after unveiling the first prototype and boasted that the company would produce the iPhone of trucking. Promises around other products, including an electric pickup truck called Badger, would soon follow, as well as plans to build a factory in Arizona.
Trevor Milton Was Already Accused Back In 2020
In March 2020, Nikola announced it would go public via a merger with special purpose acquisition company VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. Milton frequently posted on Twitter, directing his messages to retail investors after the company went public that summer.
Then, in September, just days after GM had announced a $2 billion investment in the company, noted short-seller Hindenburg Research accused Nikola of fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an inquiry in the matter and within two weeks Milton had stepped down as executive chairman.
Because of this, Nikola Corporation released a statement that it is no longer connected with Trevor Milton. However, the company explained that he is still one of the largest shareholders.
The giant electric vehicle manufacturer said that “Trevor Milton resigned from Nikola on September 20, 2020, and has not been involved in the company’s operations or communications since that time. Today’s government actions are against Mr. Milton individually, and not against the company.”
The EV manufacturer added that it has “cooperated with the government throughout the course of its inquiry. We remain committed to our previously announced milestones and timelines and are focused on delivering Tre battery-electric trucks later this year from the company’s manufacturing facilities.
One of the largest issues that the EV manufacturer is facing is his promotional video. Some experts claimed that the popular electric truck doesn’t have an engine when it is going downhill.
They claimed that the EV manufacturer’s electric truck is only rolling down the hill. On the other hand, they added that a part of the video showed that Milton only taped the doors of the truck so that it will not fall apart.
As of the moment, the case against the giant manufacturer’s former CEO is still ongoing. However, there’s a high chance that the accusation against him is true since the prosecutors are providing strong evidence.