It's the end of an era.
Guilty as Charged
The founder of electric trucking company Nikola, Trevor Milton, was just sentenced to four years in prison following a jury finding him guilty of misleading investors back in October of 2022. That's in addition to a $1 million fine.
It could've been worse for him. In their request at Milton's sentencing, prosecutors called for 11 years of jail time, much like the sentence disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes received last year.
The former CEO was convicted on one count of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud after being charged in 2021.
According to federal prosecutors, Nikola lied about building a pickup from the "ground up," claiming that it had developed its own batteries and that it had successfully built its "Nikola One" semi truck, despite knowing that it wasn't able to drive on its own.
Milton stepped down as CEO in September 2020 amid fraud allegations. At the time, short-selling investment firm Hindenburg Research released an incredibly damning report, arguing that Nikola was little more than an "intricate fraud built on dozens of lies over the course of its Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton’s career."
At the center of the scandal was a 2018 video, which purported to show a hydrogen-electric Nikola One semi-truck driving down a country highway. As it later turned out, the company rolled its truck down a hill to make it look like it was able to propel itself, even though it couldn't.
Years later, Milton will officially spend time for misleading investors.
"There has to be a message that whether you are an entrepreneur, a startup founder, a corporate executive, when you go out there and talk about your company, you must be honest," prosecutor Matthew Podolsky said at the hearing, as quoted by Reuters.
Meanwhile, Milton has maintained that he's innocent.
"I did not intend to harm anyone and I did not commit those crimes levied against me," Milton said before he was sentenced, per Reuters.
His sentiments, however, appear to have largely fallen on deaf ears.
"The law does not grant a pass for good intentions," Manhattan district judge Edgar Ramos said.
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