Tesla 'whistleblower' tells SEC company misled investors in addition to put customers at risk

Tesla to build factory in China

A former Tesla employee who calls himself a whistleblower has filed a formal tip with the Securities in addition to Exchange Commission which alleges Elon Musk’s electric car start-up misled investors in addition to put its customers at risk.

Martin Tripp — who has been sued by Tesla (TSLA) in addition to accused by Musk of attempting to sabotage the company — claims Tesla installed faulty batteries into some vehicles in addition to placed battery cells dangerously close together.

Tripp also alleges Tesla has drastically overstated to investors how many design 3 vehicles the company produces. Tesla allegedly inflated its statistics by as much as 44%.

The tip was filed with the SEC on July 6, in addition to a press Discharge about its contents was made public by Tripp’s attorney, Stuart Meissner, on Wednesday.

The SEC declined to comment on the matter.

Tesla did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Related: Tesla can be going big in China

Tripp, who worked as a process engineering technician for Tesla was sued by the company last month for allegedly hacking its manufacturing operating system in addition to stealing internal data. Tripp said he was fired in June.

Tripp denied the allegations, called himself a whistleblower, in addition to said he collected information at Tesla which “was so severe, I had to go to the media.”

Tripp’s attorney said Wednesday which the lawsuit amounted to a “calculated effort to ruin his reputation in addition to silence him in addition to some other potential Tesla [whistleblowers] through coming forward.”

Tripp said in a statement which he’s received “a ton of support” since he first came forward with allegations against Tesla last month — nevertheless he’s also been the target of threats in addition to harassment. He said he in addition to his family has been forced to relocate.

Related: Tesla finally hits Elon Musk’s target for the design 3

“Getting the truth out has become a nightmare,” he said.

Tesla has struggled for months to ramp up production of its fresh design 3 vehicle, the company’s first mass market car in addition to a cornerstone of its business design. A series of manufacturing missteps led to bottlenecks in addition to long delays for customers who placed orders for the all-electric sedan.

Musk promised investors on a conference call in June which production was finally on track. in addition to in a regulatory filing posted last week, the company said the item finally hit its goal of churning out more than 5,000 vehicles in one week.

Tripp’s filing with the SEC claims Tesla regularly overstates the production figures. A board on its factory wall which keeps a tally of how many design 3 vehicles have been made can be artificially inflated, the tip alleges.

Tripp also claims Tesla put batteries into vehicles which contained “dangerous puncture holes,” according to the Discharge through his attorney’s office. the item also claims Tesla “lowered vehicles specifications,” which resulted in hazards such as battery cells being place too close together or improperly attached to the vehicle, risking a possible explosion.

Finally, the item alleges Tesla “systematically reused parts already deemed scrap/waste in vehicles without regard to safety.”

The SEC has since 2011 offered money to tipsters who pass on credible information about violations of federal securities laws. The agency has doled out more than $250 million to whistleblowers in a variety of cases.

sy88pgw (fresh York) First published July 11, 2018: 5:19 PM ET

Tesla 'whistleblower' tells SEC company misled investors in addition to put customers at risk

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