RENO, Nev – July 19, 2019 in the United States District Court District of Nevada, Karl Hansen filed a whistleblower complaint for damages against Elon Musk, Tesla, Inc., Tesla Motors, Inc. and U.S. Security Associates. His complaint has a demand for a jury trial.
Mr Hansen is filing a three-count suit alleging: Intentional interference with contractual relations, Breach of Contract, and Whistleblower – SOX (Sarbanes Oxley Act).
Mr Hansen alleges that he was hired by Tesla, Inc. on March 5, 2018 as a Protection Associate and assigned to the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. His supervisor, Sean Gouthro changed his position to Investigation Associate on the swing shift. This meant Hansen worked under Gouthro to investigate criminal activity occurring at the Sparks Gigafactory. The factory opened July 29, 2016 and produced powerwalls and powerpacks.
Hansen was later assigned the responsibilities of Investigations Case Specialist during the vacation of another employee, Kristopher Halladay. His two primary areas of investigations were: “investigations of thefts occurring at Tesla’s Gigafactory, costing Tesla and their investors somewhere between $37 to $150 million dollars; and the association of Mexican Drug Cartel members and their alleged narcotic trafficking at Tesla’s Gigafactory.”
Hansen also discovered and started investigating Senior Management awarding improper contracts defrauding Tesla out of substantial sums of money. This is significant due to the contracts costing Tesla millions of dollars. One example detailed in the complaint states a contract that should have cost $65,000 to $75,000 to complete, cost approximately $900,000.
Hansen established a link that proved local law enforcement’s investigation into organized crime elements having ties to the Gigafactory. (See example USA v. Mora et al., Nevada District Court, Case No.: 3:18-mj-00102).
The complaint alleges that Hansen believes the findings of his investigations would create an obligation for Tesla to report to its shareholders the details. Hansen also uncovered that one other whistleblower was fired after reporting a theft to law enforcement.
Hansen followed the procedures up the organization from his supervisor to Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk. On June 19, 2018 he was terminated as of July 16, 2018 due to alleged restructuring. He was then informed that Gouthro had arranged a contract job with USSA, a third party contractor aiding his team at Tesla. He was to be in a salaried position starting at $87,500 for a three-year contract. He would work under Matt German but continue his investigations. After Hansen accepted the offer, he was told he needed to complete an online job application, drug test and background check.
Hansen, continuing his investigations, informed senior management of his findings and requested local, state and federal law enforcement to continue the investigations. At this same time, Hansen alleges he informed his supervisors about a cover-up by senior management. He was then singled out, avoided and treated differently after he made these reports.
Tesla then hired a new senior manager of Global Security named Nick Gicinto. He was told that Gicinto and team were “spying on Tesla employees using devices to monitor emails, cell phones, and data communications from Tesla employees. Hansen expressed concern to his supervisors regarding what he believed was illegal conduct.”
In fact, Gicinto and his team allegedly used these same tactics at Uber under Jeff Jones, former head of security who was also hired at Tesla with another security employee Jacob Nocon.
In a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court, District of Northern California, Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc., (Case No.:17-cv-00939-WHA). Jones, Gicinto, and Nocon all “allegedly engaged in numerous illegal methods of investigations such as wiretapping and hacking.” These behaviors are all outlined in the “Jacob’s Letter” filed in this case.
After working with these three men, Hansen recognized that the same practices were being used against Tesla employees, allegedly with Musk’s approval. He learned of illegal activities conducted that included “the purported hacking and wiretapping of a former employee, Martin Tripp. Hansen was present following Mr. Tripp’s termination, while Mr. Gicinto directed Andrew Lindemulder, IT supervisor at the Gigafactory, to install a router that was capable of intercepting and collecting phone communications which Hansen believed would be in violation of Federal and State laws and was material information that should be disclosed to shareholders.”
On June 21, 2018 Hansen informed German he had completed the online application. German told Hansen he would be contacted regarding the background check and drug test.
Hansen was informed on June 28, 2018 that his new job position with USSA was revoked and was stripped of his security clearance and email at Tesla. July 8, 2018 Hansen learned a new investigator was being sought to replace him. He also learned he was being targeted by Musk and that it was Tesla who had pressured USSA to breach his contract. He was signed a basic hourly position at the west gate entrance to the Gigafactory.
On August 9, 2018 Hansen submitted information to the SEC regarding his investigations.
Hansen was terminated on September 4, 2018.
Hansen is suing for the following relief: back pay and front pay plus pre-judgment interest; Compensatory Damages; Reasonable attorneys’ fees and punitive damages.
To read the full complaint, click Hansen v Tesla.
This story is still developing…