The US jury in the Manhattan federal court has convicted Nikola’s founder Trevor Milton of three counts of defrauding investors by misleading them about the technical developments at the company.
The 40-year-old billionaire, who resigned as chairman in September, was accused of two counts of securities fraud, including making false statements about the company, and wire fraud. The share price of the business has plummeted from its high shortly after it listed in June 2020.
Milton was also charged with civil securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The SEC requested that the U.S. The District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered him to disgorge all ill-gotten gains and pay a fine after permanently barring him from acting as an officer at a company that issues securities.
“This is a very straightforward case, Milton told lies to generate popular demand for Nikola stock, Beginning at least in or about March 2020, when Nikola announced that its stock would become publicly listed, Milton became increasingly preoccupied with keeping Nikola’s stock price high,” US Attorney Audrey Strauss told reporters at a press briefing Thursday.
Milton maintains his innocence. Milton was “wrongfully accused following a faulty and incompetent investigation,” according to his legal team, led by Brad Bondi.