Jay A. Dubow, a partner with Pepper Hamilton, a member of the firm’s White Collar Litigation and Investigations Practice Group and a co-chair of the Securities and Financial Services Enforcement Group, was quoted in several articles after Tesla Inc announced the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating CEO Elon Musk’s public statements in August 2018 that he was considering taking the electric car maker private.
According to Jay Dubow, a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton who previously worked as a branch chief in the Division of Enforcement of the SEC, it's too early to tell where the DOJ's inquiry may lead. The agency's request for documents from Tesla doesn't necessarily mean the SEC is moving closer to an enforcement action against the company, he said, but "it raises the temperature" on Tesla.
While the SEC can levy fines on companies and bar executives from serving as officers of public companies, the DOJ can bring criminal charges before a grand jury or judge, which can lead to indictments and jail time. That being said, neither Tesla's statement nor Bloomberg's report suggests that either agency is approaching some sort of enforcement action, according to Dubow.
From here, the agencies will likely coordinate to some degree but pursue separate investigations, Dubow said. If the DOJ decides it needs certain kinds of information from Tesla, such as bank or phone records, it will call for a grand jury and issue subpoenas.
Mr. Dubow was quoted in the following articles: