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Nikola Founder Called ‘Con Artist’ by Prosecutors

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Nikola founder Trevor Milton was put on blast by prosecutors in a New York courtroom when they called him a “con man” while urging jurors to convict him for lying about the company’s status in order to defraud investors.

“Trevor Milton is a con man,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Estes said. “His lies may have been on social media, but his was an old-fashioned fraud.”

Reuters says this happened during closing arguments. Prosecutors say the 40-year-old deceived investors about the EV and hydrogen-powered truck maker’s technology as early as November 2019. He reportedly left the company a little less than a year later after the company was called a “fraud” by an investment company.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Estes recapped evidence from the trial that began last month, including testimony from individual retail investors who prosecutors have said Milton targeted in podcasts, interviews and social media.

[…]

Milton’s attorneys have said he believed in his vision for the company and that prosecutors distorted his statements about Nikola’s plans to shake up the automotive industry.

According to Automotive News, Milton is charged with two counts of securities fraud as well as two counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces years in prison.

Milton’s lawyers are calling the case a “prosecution by distortion,” saying he never actually meant to deceive potential investors.

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