Things look to have gone from bad to worse for former Nikola CEO and founder Trevor Milton, who is already under indictment for multiple counts of fraud.
Now, he’s facing new charges stemming from his purchase of a Utah ranch, which he partially paid for with an option to buy Nikola stock, CNBC reported Thursday.
Federal prosecutors have hit Milton with an additional charge of wire fraud, alleging that he misrepresented the state of the company’s business at the time in order to “convince the seller of the Wasatch Creek Ranch to accept an option to buy Nikola stock as partial payment,” CNBC reported.
The option would have enabled Peter Hicks, who was selling the ranch, to buy over 500,000 shares of Nikola at $16.50 per share – what would have been a discount at the time.
It marks the fourth federal charge against Milton. Hicks has also filed a civil suit against Milton, according to the report.
Recall, among the bolder accusations made by Hindenburg Research in their scathing report about Nikola Corporation in September 2020 was the allegation that Nikola faked its Nikola One semi truck “in motion” video, which appeared to show a functioning big rig barreling through the desert, trailer in tow. Nikola later admitted that the video was simply a truck rolling down a hill.
Hindenburg Research founder Nathan Anderson commented on the news on Wednesday:
Yesterday, Trevor Milton moved to block evidence of his lavish lifestyle from trial.
Today, prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding a charge over Trevor’s purchase of a Utah mansion with $NKLA stock..which allows prosecutors to present evidence of his lavish lifestyle. pic.twitter.com/GRwKRAWmgA
— Nate Anderson (@ClarityToast) June 22, 2022