As it is, the fines have meant nothing for him, and so the SEC has filed a contempt of court complaint against him for his recent tweets.
If he spends a couple of weeks behind bars, not only will it deter him, but it will also deter the rest of the self-important fraudsters who infest the tech industry in the US:
The Securities and Exchange Commission asked a federal judge on Monday to hold Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk in contempt of court over tweets he made last week discussing the auto maker’s 2019 projected production volumes.
In a court filing, the SEC said Mr. Musk violated a condition of his settlement with the regulator last year, when he was accused of tweeting misleading information about taking Tesla private. Mr. Musk’s deal with the SEC required that Tesla officials preapprove any statements from Mr. Musk that could affect the company’s stock price.
In a series of Twitter messages on Feb. 19 that began as a celebration over Tesla vehicles prepared for shipment to Europe, Mr. Musk noted how the auto maker had achieved strong growth in recent years. “Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019,” he wrote in a tweet after regular trading hours.
The suggestion that Tesla would make 500,000 vehicles this year stood in contrast to guidance given by the company on Jan. 30. In his quarterly shareholder letter, Mr. Musk told investors that Tesla would reach an annualized build rate of 500,000 Model 3s sometime between the fourth quarter of this year and the second quarter of next year. Mr. Musk said in Tesla’s shareholder letter that the company planned to deliver as many as 400,000 in all of 2019.
Hours after his initial tweets, Mr. Musk clarified in another message, writing, “Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.”
The SEC said that Mr. Musk “did not seek or receive preapproval prior to publishing this tweet, which was inaccurate and disseminated to over 24 million people.”
In its response to the SEC, Tesla stated the content of Mr. Musk’s tweet had previously been preapproved for a Jan. 30 release by the company’s general counsel and designated securities counsel.
“Although the 7:15 PM EST tweet was not individually preapproved, Mr. Musk believed that the substance had already been appropriately vetted, preapproved, and publicly disseminated,” wrote Bradley Bondi, outside counsel working for Tesla, in a letter dated Feb. 22 and included in the material filed with the court by the SEC and released Monday. “Moreover, the tweet was made outside of NASDAQ trading hours.”
This is a Bull Durham moment.
Elon Musk just called the umpires a c%$# sucker, and the umps have to toss him out.
Short of dropping his pants and mooning the SEC, I cannot see a clearer example of contempt of court.
They do sh%$ like this because they can, and they need to be disabused of this notion.