Nikola founder Trevor Milton pleads not guilty of fraud

Nikola Corp. Trevor Milton, the founder of Trevor Milton, will appear in federal court in New York, USA on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

Angus Modant | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nicola Founder Trevor Milton pleaded not guilty to fraud in a Manhattan court Thursday afternoon after federal prosecutors accused investors of misleading investors about the ability and technology to start electric vehicles.

Milton, who resigned as chairman in September, was released with $ 100 million in bonds secured against two Utah properties worth $ 40 million. He was forbidden to contact investors and the court issued a travel ban. It was his first major appearance since he resigned from the company and deleted his social media account.

A federal grand jury has charged Milton with three criminal frauds for lying about “almost every aspect of the business” to step up the sale of shares in an electric vehicle startup. The indictment was opened on Thursday.

Milton’s lawyer defended his innocence violently.

His legal team, led by Brad Bondi, said Milton was “unjustly accused after an incomplete and incompetent investigation,” until he was exonerated, according to an email statement sent Thursday. Justice will not be provided.

Read the full statement from Milton’s legal team:

Trevor Milton is innocent. This is a new low in government effort to criminalize legitimate business practices. All American executives should be scary.

Trevor Milton is an entrepreneur with a long-term vision of helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions in the truck industry.

Milton was unfairly accused of an incomplete and incomplete investigation that the government ignored important evidence and failed to interview key witnesses.

From the beginning, this was a search for crime. Today’s government actions have failed to do justice, but it will be time for Mr Milton to be exonerated.

John Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia University, said seeking a judicial transaction would be in Milton’s best interests. He said the federal prosecutor’s allegations were “not a subtlety that could have a rational debate.”

“If he is rational, Mr Milton should seek a judicial deal,” he said in an email to CNBC.

That’s unlikely, according to Yale’s law professor Jonathan Macy, who works as a paid consultant for Milton’s defense team. He said he expected Milton to “make a strong defense.”

Milton “made some foothold, but in general he told the truth,” Macy told CNBC. “He’s an optimistic entrepreneur. Of course, the CEOs he was with and the people who are chairmen of the company … are often very optimistic, and in this case I think they have been charged with such professional dangers. . “

Milton has been charged with two securities frauds and one transfer fraud. The number of securities frauds can be imprisoned for up to 20 and 25 years, respectively. The number of transfer frauds can be imprisoned for up to 20 years.

The grand jury said Milton should confiscate all property “traceable by the crime committee above.” This is likely to include more than $ 1 billion that Nicola earned when it was released in June 2020.

Nikola’s share price plummeted 15.2% on Thursday to $ 12.03 per share. This is a plunge from a record $ 93.99 on June 9, 2020, a few days after the company went public.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed a civil securities fraud charge against Milton on Thursday. The SEC has urged the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York to permanently ban him from acting as an officer of the company issuing the securities, condemn all the profits he did not obtain, and pay a fine.

Nikola founder Trevor Milton pleads not guilty of fraud

Source link Nikola founder Trevor Milton pleads not guilty of fraud

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