While imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, and most public figures can take an impersonator in stride, this is no joke for Elon Musk. Bloomberg and Forbes report that a high-level executive of an oil pipeline company assumed the identity of the Tesla CEO in an email in an attempt to obtain inside information.

Tesla is suing Todd A. Katz, Chief Financial Officer of the ironically named Quest Integrity Group, for impersonating Elon Musk in an email to Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler. The incident took place on August 3, shortly after the automaker reported its second-quarter financial results.

Sent from the email account elontesla@yahoo.com (which probably raised red flags for Wheeler right away), the message read:

why you so cautious w Q3/4 gm guidance on call? also what are your thoughts on disclosing M3 res#? Pros/cons from ir pov? what is your best guess as to where we actually come in on q3/4 deliverables. honest guess? no bs. thx 4 hard work prepping 4 today


Not taking the bait, Tesla instead began an investigation into the origin of the email. At the other end of the line was Katz (and, in the eyes of Tesla, the larger specter of Big Oil). Now, Katz is on the hook for seeking "to misappropriate highly confidential and proprietary Tesla information," according to the lawsuit filed by the automaker.

"Tesla is under constant attack from the oil industry," the filing reads. "In recent years, oil companies have spent billions on legislative efforts and campaigns aimed at blocking progress toward electric cars and other sustainable energy solutions in the United States and abroad."

While this is the only known effort by Katz to obtain confidential information, Tesla says it has had to investigate other possible attempts, causing the company to "incur costs, damages, and losses." The amount for which Tesla is suing is undisclosed.

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