Trevor Milton Scammed $3 Billion from Investors
Trevor Milton is a very special entrepreneur. That genius that designed the Nikola Trucks in his basement? Sorry that turns out not to be true. The original design for Nikola’s flagship truck was purchased by founder Trevor Milton from a designer in Croatia, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, despite company claims in a 2018 lawsuit that the vehicle was initially designed by Mr. Milton “in his basement..”
He’s 39, one of the biggest frauds of the year for Silicon Valley treachery, and now, two women have filed sexual abuse complaints against Nikola founder Trevor Milton. This is I’m sorry but all that Silicon Valley has created in the abuse of male power. Apparently Trevor has a history of a pattern of abuse of women when they were as young as fifteen years old.
Is Trevor Milton a fraud? Back in March, long before a short seller would raise questions about electric-truck company Nikola Corp, early investors saw the multitude of red flags. In spite of all of this, GM even partnered with Nikola Corp General Motors announcing its second major electric vehicle partnership in less than a week on Tuesday, this time a $2 billion deal with startup Nikola. In all the EV hype of Tesla, we somehow forget that most people won’t be an Elon Musk.
The last time I personally felt such disgust for a founder was with Uber and Travis Kalanick. However the WeWork guy and several others put founders to shame. On September 21st, 2020 Nikola announced that founder Trevor Milton was voluntarily stepping down from his roles as executive chairman and a member of its board.
Now we are understanding why, his $3 Billion fraud was up. In 2020, the startup world attracts real con artists and psychopaths willing to “do anything for an exit.”
The announcement comes after short-selling firm Hindenburg Research accused Nikola of making “an Ocean of Lies.” If we have to resort to short-sellers finding out the dirt on dirty companies, we are in trouble. The FTC has to do their job.
Investors are looking like the victims of ponzi schemes and the stock market is looking like an illegal pyramid scheme. It’s companies like WeWork, Uber and Nikola Motors that remind us of this cold-hearted truth.
In a tweet on that same day, Milton said, “I intend to defend myself against false allegations leveled against me by outside detractors.” But in a MeToo world, fraud and sexual assault are serious allegations. The Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice are reportedly investigating claims that the company misled investors. But it’s all a story of too little too late.
Too many founders like this get away with fraud on the grandest scales and Silicon Valley Uber like mentality is to blame. Let’s do like Zuck.
Creepy men pretending to be visionaries is nothing new in this fabled world of pretenders. It’s also rather pathetic that companies like GM try to milk the Nikola hype for what it’s worth. GM said it will work with Nikola to close the deal “to seize the growth opportunities in broader markets with our Hydrotec fuel cell and Ultium battery systems, and to engineer and build the Nikola Badger. This all perpetuates a big boys club where deceit and an abuse of power is reinforced by big money.
The allegations against Nikola are very serious. However here is yet another founder who has profited greatly from such a spectacle of deceit and untruth. Trevor Milton has more in common with Donald Trump than with Elon Musk, it turns out.
Only in America! Milton is the poster child of how incredibly easy it is to fool investors and ride the hype train to a quick exit, in this case a seriously flawed SPAC raid on unsuspecting and (rather dumb) investors.
The back-room negotiations show that Milton’s past was a concern to investors months before General Motors Co. executives placed a bet on the company in a US$2 billion deal carved out after the IPO. They liked Milton’s vision and his ability to raise cash and felt the venture was safeguarded from his shortcomings in operations.
Unfortunately Trevor Milton still managed to scam his way to become a Billionaire, even after all his dishonesty to investors. This is the Silicon Valley ritual, fake it till you make it. But whether your name is Travis or Trevor, it is what it is, pure fraud and gimmicks.
Last week, GM CEO Mary Barra said the automaker conducted “appropriate diligence” regarding a $2 billion deal with the electric vehicle start-up. But GM is a desperate and irrelevant company for the future of EVs. Trevor Milton was always a liability on the brand. Milton as a young man had a habit of groping young women and as he matured, he found he had a talent for deceit on a much larger scale as well.
How can Nikola Motors even survive him? Their truck, the Nikola One, is at the centre of a $2bn lawsuit with Tesla, in which Nikola alleges its rival infringed on its patents. Two people with knowledge of the transaction told the Financial Times that the Nikola founder bought the designs in 2015 after meeting Mr Mudri while visiting electric supercar maker Rimac in Croatia. Mr. Milton pretended he designed them in his basement, it’s such a crude and laughable story.
As with all Silicon Valley frauds, investors had to drink a lot of Kool-Aid. A lot of people had to be in on the take. The 39-year old founder has repeatedly insisted that he has not lied to or deceived anyone about the trucks. He also denies groping his cousin I guess too.
Milton ran several companies before founding Nikola in 2010, including St. George Security & Alarms, which he incorporated in May 2004, according to state records. Of course they were all failures. Trevor Milton belongs in prison, not to be a celebrated founder who became a Billionaire overnight by being dishonest.
But this is Trump’s America, this is not a world where rule of law particularly matters. In a world where you can make $Billions without an actual product, boys will be boys. But where are the real men?