Tesla under federal investigation, accused of knowingly misleading investors

Did you buy TSLA after Elon Musk got obsessed with buying Twitter? You're a dipshit. Did you buy TSLA because you thought Elon Musk's promises of self-driving capability were honest? Federal investigators think you might be a victim of fraud. He knowingly misled investors with these claims, it suspects, and its probe is just the latest problem for the carmak… ah, yes, he insists it isn't a car company now.

While Tesla has warned drivers to stay ready to take over driving, the Justice Department is examining other statements by Tesla and Chief Executive Elon Musk suggesting its cars can drive themselves. U.S. regulators have separately investigated hundreds of crashes, including fatal ones, that have occurred in Teslas with Autopilot engaged, resulting in a mass recall by the automaker. Reuters exclusively reported the U.S. criminal investigation into Tesla in October 2022, and is now the first to report the specific criminal liability federal prosecutors are examining. Investigators are exploring whether Tesla committed wire fraud, which involves deception in interstate communications, by misleading consumers about its driver-assistance systems, the sources said. They are also examining whether Tesla committed securities fraud by deceiving investors, two of the sources said.

This is preceded by the various wrongful death lawsuits and staged demonstrations involving Autopilot.

Tesla has faced several legal battles with government regulators over the years. In 2018, Tesla and Musk reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over claims that he misled investors with his stupid, drug-addled tweets about taking Tesla private.

Under the settlement terms, Musk and Tesla each paid $20 million in penalties. Musk also agreed to step down as Tesla's chairman for three years, though he was able to remain as CEO. The deal required Tesla to implement controls and procedures to oversee Musk's communications, including his tweets about the company. He ultimately spent billions of dollars of his and others' money buying Twitter and embarking on a quest to make it worth millions of dollars.

Prior to that, Tesla faced an SEC investigation in 2016 over the projections Musk made about Model 3 production rates (it closed that probe without taking any enforcement action), and various run-ins with the National Labor Relations Board over Tesla's union-busting.