Trevor Milton, CEO and Founder of Nikola, will speak at a presentation on the new all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell battery truck in partnership with CNH Industrial at an event in Turin, Italy, on December 2, 2019.
Massimo Pinka | Reuters
Founder of Electric Truck Startup Nicola MotorsAlready charged with fraud, he faces new charges related to the purchase of a Utah ranch. He is a partially paid purchase with the option to buy Nicola shares.
On Wednesday, a new number of Trevor Milton, a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, falsely disguised the state of Nicola’s business and persuaded the sellers of Wasatch Creek Ranch to accept the option to buy Nikola shares as a partial payment. A ranch around April 2020 charged with wire fraud.
The new count is the fourth federal crime against Milton. In July 2021, a federal grand juries charged Milton with three criminal frauds for lying about “almost every aspect of the business” to boost sales of shares in an electric vehicle company.
The option to buy Nikola shares allowed ranch seller Peter Hicks to buy more than 500,000 shares of the company at a discount of $ 16.50 per share at the time.
Nikola’s share price temporarily surged to more than $ 60 in June 2020, but fell sharply in September of that year after Milton was expelled from the company on suspicion of fraud. The company’s share price was trading at $ 5.60 late Wednesday.
Milton’s lawyer did not immediately respond to the request for comment.
The prosecution said Milton had built a complex plan designed to pump up the company’s stock for his own benefit by lying about Nicola’s products, technology, and future sales prospects. They accused Nicola of using the deal to target amateur private investors through a special acquisition company, some of which lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In his civil proceedings against Milton, Hicks alleged that Milton made similar statements to convince him to accept stock options in ranch payments.
Many of Milton’s false and misleading allegations were first revealed by shortseller Hindenberg Research.
Milton, still awaiting trial, maintained his innocence. He pleaded not guilty to a criminal accusation in a court in New York last year.
However, after an internal investigation, Nikola said in February that he discovered that Milton had made some inaccurate statements since 2016 through the company’s IPO, which misleaded investors in June 2020. ..
In December, Nicola agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $ 125 million to resolve claims that deceived investors by misleading investors about their products, technical capabilities, and business outlook. Did.
Nicola was the catalyst for electric vehicle start-ups to open to the public through SPAC transactions. Investor interest in such companies has skyrocketed after Tesla’s stock price soared and became the world’s most valuable car maker by market capitalization in 2020.