Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Found Guilty of Fraud and Conspiracy
Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was convicted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy Monday, ending a lengthy trial that has captivated Silicon Valley.
The jury found her not guilty of four other felony charges. On the three remaining charges, the jury was deadlocked.
Holmes could now face up to 20 years in prison for each count.
The former entrepreneur, who had bowed her head several times before the jury was polled by the judge, remained seated and expressed no visible emotion as the verdicts were read. Her partner, Billy Evans, showed agitation in earlier moments but appeared calm during the verdict reading.
After the judge left the courtroom to meet with jurors individually, Holmes got up to hug Evans and her parents before leaving with her lawyers. Evans later emerged in the hallway outside the courtroom, looking visibly shaken and emotional.
Holmes, a once-celebrated entrepreneur, was accused of duping investors and patients about a flawed blood-testing technology that she hailed as a medical breakthrough. She was the subject of the 2019 HBO docuseries The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, and Jennifer Lawrence is set to portray her in the Apple Studios film Bad Blood from director Adam McKay.
Nine of the 11 counts were fraud charges and two revolved around a conspiracy to commit fraud from 2010 to 2015. During that time, Holmes became a Silicon Valley sensation, one worth $4.5 billion on paper based on her promise that Theranos’ technology would revolutionize health care.
After starting Theranos in 2003 as a 19-year-old college dropout, Holmes began working on a technology that she repeatedly promised would be able to scan for hundreds of health issues with just a few drops of blood taken with a finger prick. Conventional methods requires a needle inserted into a person’s vein to draw a vial of blood for each test, which must then be carried out at large laboratories.
Holmes believed she could provide more humane, convenient and cheaper blood tests with “mini-labs” in Walgreens and Safeway stores across the U.S., using a small testing device dubbed “Edison” in homage to the famous inventor.
The concept proved to be compelling. Theranos raised more than $900 million from a long list of elite investors, including savvy billionaires such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and software magnate Larry Ellison.
But most people didn’t know that the Theranos blood-testing technology kept producing misleading results that led the company to secretly rely on conventional blood testing. Evidence presented at the trial also showed Holmes lied about purported deals that Theranos had reached with big drug companies such as Pfizer and the U.S. military.
In 2015, a series of explosive articles in The Wall Street Journal and a regulatory audit of Theranos’ lab uncovered potentially dangerous flaws in the company’s technology, leading to the company’s eventual collapse.