Ex-Lordstown Motors CEO settles with SEC over statements

(Reuters) – Ex-Lordstown Motors Corp CEO Stephen Burns settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday over his statements about demand for the electric vehicle maker’s flagship truck, the Endurance.

The SEC said in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington that Burns misrepresented preorders Lordstown had received for its full-size electric pickup truck around the time it went public in the fall of 2020.

Burns agreed to pay a $175,000 penalty and be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for two years.

Spokespeople for the SEC and for Burns’ company, LAS Capital, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Burns founded Lordstown in 2019, and the company went public through a merger with a blank-check company the following year.

He stepped down as CEO and board chairman in June 2021 after a short seller report cast doubt on Lordstown’s statements that it had received 100,000 preorders from commercial fleets.

An investigation by Lordstown’s board later found that most preorders were from intermediaries that had agreed to find buyers for the trucks.

The vehicle maker settled with the SEC in February over claims it had misled investors.

Clark Schaefer Hackett & Co, which acted as Lordstown’s adviser and auditor, agreed to pay more than $80,000 in a settlement with the regulator.

Lordstown filed for bankruptcy in 2023. Burns, who sold his remaining stake in Lordstown last year, received court approval to purchase the truck maker’s manufacturing assets and intellectual property through his company LAS Capital in October.

Reporting by Jody Godoy in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Nia Williams