Posted on 12/26/2021
Revealed on December 21, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) informed the public that Nikola Corporation, a publicly traded company formed as part of a special purpose acquisition company transaction, has agreed to pay $ 125 million dollars to pay fees that it defrauded investors by misleading them to inform them about its products, technical advances and business prospects. The settlement follows the SEC lawsuit filed earlier this year against Trevor Milton (39), the founder and former CEO and executive chairman of Nikola.
The press release states: “As per the SEC order, before Nikola produced a single commercial product, Milton embarked on a public relations campaign aimed at inflating and maintaining the stock price. by Nikola. Milton’s statements in tweets and media appearances falsely gave investors the impression that Nikola had reached certain products and technology milestones. The order reveals Milton misled investors about Nikola’s technological advancements, in-house production capabilities, hydrogen production, truck reservations and orders, and financial outlook. The ordinance also finds that Nikola further misled investors by misrepresenting or omitting important facts regarding the refueling time of its prototype vehicles, the condition of its head office hydrogen station, the expected cost and the sources of electricity for its planned hydrogen production; and the economic risks and rewards associated with its envisioned partnership with a leading automaker.
The press release added: “The Commission order finds that Nikola has violated the anti-fraud and disclosure control provisions of federal securities laws. Without admitting or denying the findings of the Commission, Nikola agreed to cease and desist from any future violation of the impugned provisions, of certain voluntary commitments and to pay a fine of 125 million dollars. Nikola has also agreed to continue to cooperate with the ongoing litigation and investigation by the Commission. The ordinance also establishes a fair fund to return the proceeds of the penalty to victim investors. “
Previously, the Manhattan attorney’s office indicted Trevor Milton on two counts of securities fraud and wire fraud.