Nikola founder Trevor Milton on Friday was convicted by a jury of fraud in a case alleging he lied to investors about the electric vehicle company’s technology.
The jury discovered Milton responsible on one depend of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud after deliberating for round 5 hours. Milton was acquitted on a further depend of securities fraud.
In the course of the trial in federal court docket in Manhattan, prosecutors depicted Milton, 40, as a “con man” who sought to deceive buyers concerning the electric- and hydrogen-powered truck maker’s technology beginning in November 2019.
Milton, carrying a blue swimsuit and inexperienced tie, shook his head because the jurors confirmed their verdict. His legal professional mentioned he’ll file court docket papers difficult the decision.
Milton, of Oakley, Utah, was indicted in July 2021. He left Nikola in September 2020 after a report by brief vendor Hindenburg Analysis referred to as the corporate a “fraud.”
Prosecutors accused Milton of utilizing social media and interviews on tv, podcasts and in print to make false and deceptive claims about Nikola’s vehicles and expertise.
They mentioned Milton’s improper statements included that Nikola constructed an electric- and hydrogen-powered “Badger” pickup from the “floor up,” developed batteries in-house that he knew it was buying elsewhere and had early success in making a “Nikola One” semi-truck he knew didn’t work.
Milton’s statements about Nikola got here as the corporate joined the mounting variety of tech and EV firms going public by means of particular function acquisition autos or SPACs. He additionally was accused of defrauding the vendor of a Utah ranch, who accepted Nikola inventory choices as a part of the acquisition worth primarily based on Milton’s claims concerning the firm.
The protection and the prosecution delivered closing arguments to the jury on Thursday in a trial that started on Sept. 13. The prosecution mentioned Milton was obsessive about the corporate’s inventory worth and made the statements to inflate it and his personal internet price. The protection mentioned prosecutors had distorted Milton’s statements about Nikola’s plans to shake up the automotive business.
Sentencing for Milton was set for Jan. 27.
Leave a Reply