Trevor Milton, the former CEO of Nikola, is facing a four-year federal prison sentence for fraud, coupled with a $1 million fine, restitution, and additional probation. Despite currently being out on bail while appealing the conviction, Milton led Nikola in 2018 when the company openly admitted to creating a deceptive video showcasing its prototype electric semi-truck.
This, along with Milton's various statements, painted a misleading picture of the company's progress toward full-scale production.
A judge recently handed down a four-year prison sentence, a $1 million fine, an undetermined restitution amount, and three years of supervised release post-imprisonment. It's notably less severe than what prosecutors initially sought—an 11-year prison term and a $5 million fine—or what Milton's legal team pushed for—probation only.
Since Milton's exit, Nikola has grappled with challenges, including a $169 million loss in Q1 2023, a NASDAQ de-listing notice, a workforce reduction of 270 jobs in June, and a fire that destroyed four trucks. In September, Nikola's current CEO, Steve Girsky, drew parallels between the company and Tesla, underscoring its potential impact.
At this moment, Nikola might be chiefly remembered as a CEO who took investors on a journey that concluded with burned-up trucks and little else.