One of Tesla Motors’ ex-engineers might be required to spend six years in prison for allegedly accessing the email account of his former boss and pilfering employee evaluations, which he later shared with other workers, says a report from Reuters. On Thursday, the FBI informed the media that its agents had arrested Nima Kalbasi in Vermont last month when he entered the U.S.
Kalbasi harmed Tesla’s reputation
According to the FBI, this 28-year-old Canadian citizen is also guilty of accessing a customer complaint report, posting it online and making critical comments about the quality of Tesla cars. He is charged with felony computer intrusion and of a misdemeanor. The punishment in the first instance is a maximum of five years in prison, while in the latter, it’s one year. “Kalbasi tried to harm Tesla’s reputation and credibility by making false and misleading comments,” the FBI said.
Tesla fired Kalbasi in December 2014 after he had worked for the electric car maker for about a year as a mechanical engineer according to the indictment. The indictment says Tesla deactivated his email account, but he somehow managed to obtain the login and password of his former manager’s email account. How he managed to get ahold of those credentials is not mentioned in the indictment.
Several hacks have been reported this year with the majority related to outside attackers. However, some surveys suggest that employees are a significant cause of breaches, generally due to negligence or carelessness. Kalbasi appeared in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif. on Aug. 27.
Tesla Model 3 in 2017
In other Tesla-related news, CEO Elon Musk said that the long-awaited Model 3 will be in the market in 2017 and will cost $35,000. On Thursday, Musk tweeted that the smaller, lower-cost sedan will go into production in about two years. The delay is due to the need for a fully operational gigafactory. Tesla will enter the mainstream market with the Model 3. The range of the car, as promised by Musk, will be 320km minimum. Similar to the Model S, the upcoming vehicle will come in several different variations with more range and power.
On Thursday, Tesla shares closed down 0.86% at $245.57. Year to date, the stock is up by over 10%, while in the last year, shares are down by almost 9%.