The former CEO and founder of Theranos, pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy to commit online fraud. Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison for defrauding investors in her blood-testing startup. The ruling comes after a months-long trial, and more so after she was first indicted and forced to step down as CEO in 2018.
Of the 11 counts, Holmes was found guilty of four: conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of electronic fraud against individual investors. She was found not guilty on four additional counts, including one count of conspiracy to defraud patients, two counts of investor fraud, and one count of wire fraud arising from advertisements Theranos operated in Arizona. The jury is deadlocked on three other wire fraud charges and has yet to pass judgment on those charges.
During the trial, Holmes’ lawyers tried to portray her as a young and inexperienced entrepreneur. “Elizabeth Holmes has worked to the bone for 15 years trying to make lab testing affordable,” said one of Holmes’ attorneys. “I failed…but failure is not a crime.”
Holmes, who said during the trial that she had no intention of misleading the public or investors, advised that the company’s “trade secrets” be protected. as New York times She noted that she “spent much of her testimony arguing that others at Theranos were responsible for the company’s shortcomings.”
Prosecutors alleged that Holmes was aware of serious flaws in the company’s technology and concealed the cases from investors. Also testified were previous patients who had received inaccurate blood tests, including a woman from Arizona who got an incorrect result for HS, and a woman who was misdiagnosed.
Holmes’ story has been of widespread appeal, even to those outside of Silicon Valley. At its peak, Theranos was valued at more than $9 billion and had a board of directors filled with former high-ranking officials, including two former Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger and George Shultz. Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford University to start the company, made regular appearances and was often compared to Steve Jobs and other notable founders. (Holmes herself was reportedly fascinated by Jobs and adopted his signature.)
former The Wall Street Journal Reporter John Carrero was the first to report issues with Theranos technology in 2015, and his coverage sparked numerous investigations and lawsuits that eventually led to criminal charges being brought against Holmes and former chief operating officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. (Al-Balwani’s trial is scheduled to begin.)
Since then, there has been no shortage of popular culture depictions of Holmes. After Carreyrou’s Best Seller, bad bloodThere have been several podcasts about Theranos’s rise and eventual fall. Hulu is set for its epic debut, with Amanda Seyfried starring as Holmes, in March. And Apple recently released the movie based on Jennifer Lawrence bad blood.
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