Trevor Milton, former founder and CEO of electric truck startup Nikola, has been sentenced to four years in prison over securities fraud.

In the ruling, Judge Edgardo Ramos in the US District Court in Manhattan said he would impose a sentence of 48 months on each count, served concurrently, and a fine of $1 million.

Milton is expected to appeal the sentence, which Ramos acknowledged, reports TechCrunch.

“I stepped down because my wife was suffering life-threatening sickness,” Milton said in his statement.

“She suffered medical malpractice, someone else’s plasma. So I stepped down for that – not because I was a fraud. The truth matters. I chose my wife over money or power,” he was quoted as saying.

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Milton, 41, was convicted by a jury in October 2022 of one count of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud.

He was found guilty of lying to investors about the development of Nikola’s electric trucks to inflate the company’s stock price, according to reports.

Prosecutors in the have accused Milton of deceiving investors since 2019 by making improper statements, including that Nikola had built a truck from the “ground up”.

The company paid a $125 million penalty in a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In October, an arbitration panel in New York ordered Milton to pay the company $165 million.

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