Former Tesla employee files 'whistleblower' tip with SEC

Posted Jul 12, 2018 by Karen Graham
A former Tesla employee who calls himself a whistleblower has filed a formal tip with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that alleges Elon Musk’s electric car start-up misled investors and put its customers at risk.
Elon Musk
It may sound like a "sour grapes" reaction to being fired and then sued by the electric vehicle automaker, but Martin Tripp retained Meissner Associates, a whistleblower, securities, investment fraud and employment law firm to represent him before the SEC.
The SEC filing by Tripp is just the latest in an ongoing battle between Tripp and Tesla after he was fired in June. Right after the firing, according to Tech Crunch, Tesla filed a lawsuit on June 20 against Tripp for $1 million, alleging the man, who worked as a process technician at the massive battery factory near Reno, hacked the company’s confidential and trade secret information and transferred that information to third parties, according to court documents.
In the lawsuit, Tesla also claims Tripp leaked false information to the media. It wasn't but one day later that Tripp initiated a combative email exchange with Tesla CEO Elon Musk that escalated quickly, resulting in Musk writing that Tripp was a "horrible human being" for "framing other people."
Tripp's attorney Stuart Meissner, has a successful whistleblower track record. Tripp's July 6 SEC filing alleges Tesla knowingly manufactured batteries with punctured holes possibly impacting hundreds of cars on the road, as well as misled the investing public as to the numbers of Model 3s actually being produced each week by as much as 44 percent.
The company is alleged to have lowered vehicle specifications and systemically used scrap and waste material in vehicles, all so as to meet production quotas, according to a statement from Meissner Associates.
Tesla has always contended that Tripp is not a whistleblower, but someone who hacked and stole confidential information.
It should be noted that since 2011, the SEC has offered money to tipsters who pass on credible information about violations of federal securities laws. So far, the SEC has paid out $250 million to whistleblowers in a variety of cases.