Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of the healthcare company Theranos was charged with federal crimes in late 2017. This verdict highlighted flaws in her technology that may have put patients at risk. Even though she claimed to be a genius, it turns out she is not as smart as many believe!
Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty on four out of eleven charges in a verdict that came down on Thursday. She will be sentenced in September 2021.
For each count of wire fraud and conspiracy, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and restitution.
The jury returned another note hours later, indicating that it was still unable to make a decision on those charges.
The Judge called the jurors into the courtroom after reading the memo aloud. He asked the jurors whether longer discussions would help them reach a unanimous decision, but none of them raised their hands to suggest that this was the case. He returned them to the discussion chamber to finish the verdict form.
Holmes, who claimed to have revolutionized blood testing, was charged with nine counts of federal wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for allegedly lying to investors, doctors, and patients about her company’s blood testing capabilities in order to defraud them and keep their money.
Judge Edward Davila presided over the trial, which began last October at a federal courtroom in San Jose and ended with the judgment. While Holmes, 37, was charged more than three years ago, the pandemic and the birth of her kid caused her trial to be postponed.
Given Holmes’ fame during her prime and as a rare criminal fraud prosecution of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, the trial, which lasted three months before going to the jury, has piqued curiosity.
Holmes founded Theranos when she was 19 years old, and shortly after dropped out of Stanford to devote her whole attention to the company. After a decade of working under the radar, Theranos announced a retail collaboration with Walgreens and started publicly advertising its capacity to screen for illnesses like cancer and diabetes with only a few drops of blood drawn via a finger prick.
Many people believed in the promise: Theranos raised $945 million from high-profile investors, including media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Walmart’s Walton family, and former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ rich family. As a result, Theranos was valued at $9 billion, making Holmes a paper billionaire for a while. However, the dominoes began to fall when a Wall Street Journal investigation in 2015 found that the business was only employing its proprietary technology for just a dozen of the hundreds of tests it was giving, and that the accuracy was doubtful.
During the course of the trial, jurors heard from 32 witnesses. The prosecution questioned 29 witnesses, including former Theranos workers, retail executives, and a former US Defense Secretary, in an effort to piece together the complex web of alleged deceit that Holmes allegedly participated in to deceive investors and patients. The prosecution wanted to figure out what Holmes knew about her company’s technology and flaws, when she knew it, and if she meant to deceive despite knowing it.
Meanwhile, the defense’s case was primarily based on Holmes’ own testimony.
Holmes testified for over 24 hours over seven days in court, acknowledging that Theranos’ devices were only ever used to perform a dozen tests on patients, but she gave her side of the story as to why, denying that it was due to any technical flaws. She accepted some of the government’s other major arguments, but she presented herself as a firm believer in the company’s talents and goal. While she expressed regret throughout her testimony, she denied ever attempting to mislead — a vital issue on which the prosecution must persuade jurors if Holmes is to be found guilty.
Holmes pointed the blame at others, namely at her ex-boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’ former president and chief operating officer, who managed several of the main areas at issue in the allegations, including the company’s clinical lab. (Balwani faces the same allegations as Holmes and is scheduled to go on trial in the first half of this year.) He has entered a not guilty plea.)
On the evidence, Holmes became tearful as she said she had been the victim of a decade-long violent relationship with Balwani. While she denied that Balwani had any influence over her remarks to investors and others, she did say that Balwani tried to exert control over practically every area of her life. Balwani has previously disputed the claims of abuse in court documents.
Holmes said that, although she didn’t know everything that transpired at the firm, she “never” tried to deceive investors.
“They were long-term investors,” she said, “and I wanted to speak about what this firm might accomplish a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now.” “They didn’t care about today, tomorrow, or next month. They wanted to know what type of change we could bring about.”
When asked whether she ever misled patients into believing Theranos could provide accurate and trustworthy blood tests when she knew it couldn’t, she said no. “Of course not,” Holmes testified.
This report was helped by Rishi Iyengar.
Watch This Video-
The “elizabeth holmes voice” is a trial verdict that was given by the judge, who found Elizabeth Holmes guilty on four out of eleven charges.
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