The once high-flying founder of an electric and hydrogen-powered truck startup reportedly surrendered to law enforcement on Thursday, following charges that he tried to defraud investors. Trevor Milton, who served as chairman until September, when the fraud claims started to swirl, allegedly overstated the company’s technological abilities. As one example, he claimed Nikola had a “fully functioning” prototype, according to a newly released indictment, when in fact he “knew that the prototype was inoperable.”
A spokesperson for Nikola said, in part, that “Trevor Milton resigned from Nikola on September 20, 2020 and has not been involved in the company’s operations or communications since that time. Today’s government actions are against Mr. Milton individually, and not against the company.”
A representative for Milton said, “Trevor Milton is innocent; this is a new low in the government’s efforts to criminalize lawful business conduct. Every executive in America should be horrified.” The company’s shares were down more than 9 percent as of early Thursday afternoon.