Trevor Milton, founder of Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ:NKLA), has been charged with three counts of fraud by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan in connection with their investigation into the embattled electric vehicle start-up.
Federal prosecutors accused Milton, who resigned as chairman in September, of making deceptive and false claims regarding “nearly all aspects of the business,” according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday.
Prosecutors said Milton built an intricate scheme designed to pump up the company’s stock for his own gain by lying about the company’s products, technology and future sales prospects.
They accuse him of using Nikola’s deal to go public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, to target amateur retail investors, some of whom lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
NKLA shares dived $1.32, or 9.3%, to $12.87.