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Billionaire Nicola founder Trevor Milton charged with fraud on suspicion of deceiving investors




Top line

Trevor Milton, founder and former chairman of automaker Nikola Motor, said in a comment from U.S. prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission on a nearly-year plan allegedly tricking individual investors into the high-flying business. I was charged with fraud caused by it. Before and after the lively trading debut in June last year.

Important facts

The US federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan charged Milton, 39, with three fraudulent charges in an unsealed indictment on Thursday.

In another complaint filed Thursday, the SEC repeatedly charged Milton with securities fraud (and during the same period) for making false and misleading statements about the core aspects of Nicola’s business. Billions of dollars in committed truck orders on a podcast released last July.

Instead, authorities say in a regulatory filing that they claim that “only one customer has placed 800 orders.” [trucks] At that time, it could be characterized as “binding.”

In a statement, Phoenix-based Nicola has not been charged with cheating, but Milton has not been involved in the company’s “operation or communications” since resigning in September, investigating. He said he cooperated with the government through.

Nikola shares plunged 10% to $ 12.83 in early Thursday trading, pushing losses this year to nearly 20%.

Milton’s representative did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.

Important quote

“Before Nikola produced a single commodity or earned money from the sale of trucks and fuel, Milton relentlessly publicized Blitz for a class of investors he called” Robin Hood Investors. ” “Embarked on,” the SEC wrote in a complaint. “From around November 2019 to September 2020, Milton’s remarks in tweets and media appearances were taken individually and together to portray Nicola’s picture, which deviated significantly from the reality of the time.”

Big number

$ 1.3 billion. According to Forbes, that’s how much Milton was worth when the market closed on Wednesday. Milton founded Nicola in 2014 to manufacture battery- and hydrogen-powered semi-trucks.

Main background

Nikola’s stock soared after the Nasdaq trading debut, but short-selling Hindenberg, who said it didn’t hold a position in the company, reported in September last year that it “claimed a complex fraud” for the electric car company. I have been struggling since I announced. Chairman Milton misleaded investors about the company’s business. The Justice Department and the SEC began investigating the company a few days later. Milton then resigned, legacy automaker GM withdrew from a major partnership with the company at the end of last year, and Nikola shares almost plummeted. 75% from September highs.


Behind the new billionaire Trevor Milton’s $ 3 billion push to run America on hydrogen (Forbes)

GM does not invest in Nicola, but may supply fuel cells and batteries for trucks (Forbes)

Nikola founder Trevor Milton resigns after being accused of short-selling fraud (Forbes)

Nikola Motors Billionaire Founder Explains Why His $ 3.3 Billion Company Needs Small Business Rescue Cash (Forbes)




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