• By The Financial District

U.S. Sues Nikola Founder Trevor Milton For Defrauding Investors

Trevor Milton, the billionaire founder and former chief executive of Nikola Corp. was criminally charged late last week with defrauding investors by lying to them about the electric-and hydrogen-powered truck maker.

Photo Insert: Nikola Corp founder and former CEO, Trevor Milton

Milton, 39, pleaded not guilty at a hearing in Manhattan federal court to two counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud over statements he made from November 2019 to September 2020 about Nikola's products and technology, Jonathan Stempel and Ben Klayman reported for Reuters.

Authorities said Milton relied on a public relations blitz of social media posts as well as TV and podcast interviews to drive up Nikola's stock price, become one of the world's 100 richest people and "elevate" his stature as an entrepreneur.

"Milton lied about nearly every aspect of the business," US Attorney Audrey Strauss in Manhattan said at a news conference.

Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

"Today's criminal charges against Milton are where the rubber meets the road." A judge allowed Milton to go free on a $100 million bond, partially secured by two homes that the Oakley, Utah, resident owns.

Each criminal count carries a maximum prison term of 20 or 25 years. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed related civil charges.


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