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Electric Truck Company To Pay $125 Million Settlement for Misleading Investors

Nikola scammed investors with video of non-functional truck rolling down a hill

Former Nikola CEO Trevor Milton, who has been charged with defrauding investors (Wikimedia Commons)
• December 21, 2021 1:20 pm

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Once-booming electric truck manufacturer Nikola on Tuesday agreed to pay a $125 million settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission over charges that it lied to investors, the New York Post reported.

Company founder Trevor Milton "misled investors about, among other things, Nikola's technological advancements, in-house production capabilities, reservation book, and financial outlook," the SEC said Tuesday.

Nikola had a whirlwind rise on Wall Street, with General Motors in Sept. 2020 acquiring a $2 billion stake in the company. Its success came crashing down that same month.

Milton, then the company's CEO, in Jan. 2018 posted to YouTube a video of the "Nikola One Electric Semi Truck in motion."

"This thing fully functions and works, which is really incredible," he said.

In reality, a bombshell Sept. 2020 Hindenburg Research report found, the company had just let the far-from-functional truck roll down a hill and tilted the camera to make the road appear level.

Nikola a week later admitted that the truck did not "drive on its own propulsion." It admitted in February that Milton had made multiple "inaccurate" claims about the truck.

Under the $125 million SEC settlement, Nikola will not admit or deny wrongdoing. Milton, who in Sept. 2020 resigned from the company, has already been charged with fraud.