Workers assemble cars on the line at Tesla’s factory in Fremont.
David Butow | Corbis News | Getty Images
Tesla is stepping up its efforts to detect and prevent fraud and waste within its ranks, according to a job listing posted to its own careers page on July 19th, and syndicated to LinkedIn about a week ago.
According to the recruiting ad, Tesla seeks a “Manager, Financial (Anti-Fraud) Analytics & Investigation,” to helm a new group. Here’s an excerpt:
“Global Fraud Management is a new team established to promote and foster a culture of ethical behavior and to mitigate fraud, waste, and abuse through prevention, investigation, and remediation. In this role, the ideal candidate would work with key stakeholders to build the global fraud strategy for Tesla and develop a world-class fraud prevention, detection, and response team.'”
The listing doesn’t say what prompted the creation of this team.
However, Tesla’s factories have been plagued by waste and disorganization in the past. For example, employees previously told CNBC that they had trouble tracking their project budgets and specific purchase orders within Tesla’s disparate systems. Others told CNBC they engaged in quick fixes during Model 3 vehicle assembly which Tesla said were not in line with company’s official procedures and policies.
CEO Elon Musk has also espoused the notion that Tesla is besieged by haters, some out to damage the electric vehicle and renewable energy company from within.
For instance, in June 2018, Musk sent a pair of e-mails around to all Tesla employees urging them to find and stop turncoats. In one e-mail, Musk asserted:
“A Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations.”
It turned out Musk was referencing Martin Tripp, a former Gigafactory employee who claimed Tesla was using flawed battery manufacturing practices, and hiding relevant info from shareholders. Tripp is still embroiled in a legal battle with Tesla after taking his claims to press.
In that same e-mail, Musk told Tesla employees that they are in a battle that could be characterized as Tesla versus the world. He wrote:
“As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil and gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world—they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power and electric cars.”
In another e-mail that week, speaking of one of several paint shop fires that occurred at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory throughout 2018, Musk said: “Could just be a random event, but as Andy Grove said, ‘Only the paranoid survive.’ Please be on the alert for anything that’s not in the best interests of our company.”
In November 2018, according to a Department of Justice statement, a former Tesla employee named Salil Parulekar was indicted for allegedly embezzling $9.3 million from Tesla by diverting payments from one supplier to another.
And in the first quarter of 2019, Tesla filed a pair of lawsuits against former employees at self-driving tech venture Zoox, and Chinese electric vehicle makers, Xiaopeng, alleging theft of trade secrets.
CNBC has reached out to Tesla for comment about the job listing and will update this post if the company responds.