Earlier this week, a Volkswagen of America employee seemingly leaked a press statement early that the automaker would be changing its name. It turns out that the move was intended as an April Fools' Day joke.

The Volkswagen press release stated that the company would be changing its name to Voltswagen of America in an effort to promote its rollout of electric vehicles.

Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies confirmed in a statement that this was a pre-April Fool’s Day joke. Not only was the “fake” news release posted on the official website, but it was also sent to media outlets, which included the Associated Press.

“The renaming was designed to be an announcement in the spirit of April Fool’s Day,” the company said.

There were even tweets from Volkswagen that announced the new name.

While intended as a lighthearted joke, it could land the company in trouble with the Security and Exchange Commission, as the stunt had an impact on the company's share price.

Duke University corporate law professor James Cox told CNBC that the SEC should take action.

“The whole market has gone crazy,” Cox said. “We need to throw a pretty clear line in the sand, I believe, about what is permissible and what isn’t permissible.”

The 'dieselgate' scandal has tarnished Volkswagen's reputation
The 'dieselgate' scandal has tarnished Volkswagen's reputation AFP / Ina FASSBENDER