CEO and founder of U.S. Nikola, Trevor Milton speaks during presentation of its new full-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell battery trucks in partnership with CNH Industrial, at an event in Turin, Italy December 2, 2019.
Massimo Pinca | Reuters
Trevor Milton, founder of Nikola Corp., has been charged with three counts of fraud by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan in connection with their investigation into the embattled electric vehicle start-up.
Federal prosecutors accused Milton, who resigned as chairman in September, of making deceptive and false claims regarding “nearly all aspects of the business,” according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday.
The grand jury said Milton shall forfeit all property “traceable to the commission of said offenses,” which would likely include the more than $1 billion he earned when Nikola went public in June 2020.
Many of the allegations regarding false and misleading statements were first uncovered by short-seller Hindenburg Research in September.
Hindenburg accused Milton of making false statements about Nikola’s technology in order to grow the company and partner with auto companies. The report, titled “Nikola: How to Parlay An Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership With the Largest Auto OEM in America,” was released two days after the company announced a deal with General Motors that sent both companies’ shares soaring. It characterized Nikola as an “intricate fraud built on dozens of lies” by Milton.
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