Trevor Milton Found Guilty of Defrauding Nikola Investors
Former Nikola CEO Trevor Milton was found guilty on three counts of fraud, after making false statements to investors with the intention of boosting the EV company’s stock price.
A federal court in Manhattan previously charged Milton with two counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud, arguing that he peddled lies about “nearly all aspects of the business” with the sole intention of convincing investors to drive up the price of Nikola stock during his tenure as chairman and CEO. Following one day of deliberations, the jury on Friday found Milton guilty of both counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud. If he was convicted on all four counts, he faced up to 25 years in prison.
Shortly after making its public debut via a merger with a SPAC in June 2020, Nikola shares soared above $90— even briefly eclipsing the value of automaker Ford. However, a now-famous Hindenburg Research short report revealed evidence detailing numerous false statements made my Milton, ultimately forcing the CEO to resign in September 2020. Shortly after his departure, both the SEC and the Department of Justice opened probes into some of the allegations, and by July 2021, a grand jury charged Milton with three counts of fraud, which was later updated with a fourth count in June 2022.
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