A federal jury in California on Monday found Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes guilty of fraud and conspiracy. Holmes had been charged with 11 counts of fraud for claims made to investors and patients of her Silicon Valley blood-testing company.
The jury handed down a partial verdict on Monday, finding Holmes guilty of four of the 11 charges – three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was found not guilty of an additional four, and the jury remained deadlocked on the other three counts. Sentencing will come at a later date, however, Holmes now faces a federal prison sentence of up to 20 years. The federal government also must decide whether to retry Holmes for the three counts on which the jury could not reach a verdict.
Holmes first rose to prominence in 2014 as the founder and CEO of Theranos, which duped investors out of millions by falsely purporting that its technology could run hundreds of medical tests using just a few drops of blood. In 2015, Wall Street Journal journalist John Carreyrou reported that the machine Holmes was selling — dubbed The Edison — did not actually work, and that the company was using outside technology and other subterfuge to fake positive test results. Federal authorities then investigated Holmes, indicting her in 2018. In addition to accusations she misled to patients and physicians about the efficacy of Theranos’ blood tests, Holmes was also accused of lying to investors in 2015, telling them that Theranos would generate $1 billion in revenue when she allegedly knew the company would only generate a few hundred thousand dollars that year.
During her trial, Holmes’ defense attorneys claimed she didn’t mean to defraud investors. Holmes also testified in her own defense, saying her judgment was clouded because of the alleged sexual, psychological and emotional abuse she endured during her relationship with former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, her ex-boyfriend and co-defendant. Balwani faces the same fraud and conspiracy charges Holmes faced but will be tried separately in January.
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