Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of blood testing startup Theranos, will go down in history as the female entrepreneur who took Silicon Valley by storm, leaving financial disaster in her wake. On Monday, a California jury added another line to biography: a company executive guilty of so many crimes.
After days of deliberation, jurors convicted Holmes on four of the 11 counts she was accused of. All of the guilty counts were related to wire fraud or conspiracy to commit wire fraud against Theranos investors, who invested hundreds of millions of dollars to back the small, portable medical devices the company claimed could run countless medical tests using a single drop of patients’ blood. The problem was that the devices didn’t work.
Notably, the jury rejected claims that Holmes had conspired or committed wire fraud against Theranos’ paying patients, finding her not guilty on the four counts related to the matter. It could not reach a decision on three other counts of wire fraud against investors.
The jury’s decisions on all counts, reported by the Wall Street Journal, can be viewed below:
1. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud against Theranos investors: Guilty
2. Conspiracy to commit wire fraud against Theranos paying patients: Not guilty
3. Wire fraud against Theranos investors: wire transfer of $US99,990 ($139,126) from Alan Jay Eisenman: No verdict
4. Wire fraud against Theranos investors: wire transfer of $US5,349,900 ($7,443,851) from Black Diamond Ventures: No verdict
5. Wire fraud against Theranos investors: wire transfer of $US4,875,000 ($6,783,075) from Hall Phoenix Inwood Ltd.: No verdict
6. Wire fraud against Theranos investors: wire transfer of $US38,336,632 ($53,341,590) from PFM Healthcare Master Fund: Guilty
7. Wire fraud against Theranos investors: wire transfer of $US99,999,984 ($139,139,978) from Lakeshore Capital Management LP: Guilty
8. Wire fraud against Theranos investors: wire transfer of $US5,999,997 ($8,348,396) from Mosley Family Holdings LLC: Guilty
9. Wire fraud against Theranos paying patients: wire transmission of patient E.T.’s blood-test results: Not guilty
10. Wire fraud against Theranos paying patients: wire transmission of patient M.E.’s blood-test results: Not guilty
11. Wire fraud against Theranos paying patients: wire transfer of $US1,126,661 ($1,567,636) used to purchase advertisements for Theranos Wellness Centres: Not guilty
In her defence, Holmes’ lawyers said investors should have done more research into Theranos, and more importantly, that the CEO’s failures were not a crime. Holmes echoed the latter when she gave testimony, saying that she believed what the people running Theranos’ labs were telling her. She claimed she believed the company’s product worked and that she wanted to talk about what the company could accomplish in the future.
“I wanted to talk about what this company could do a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now,” Holmes said, according to the New York Times. “I wanted to talk about what was possible.”
Holmes’ testimony also included accusations against Sunny Balwani, Theranos’ chief operating officer and her ex-boyfriend, who she claimed had emotionally and sexually abused her. Holmes said Balwani, who she dated in secret for more than 10 years, had controlled every part of her life, including her schedule, self-presentation, and time with her family. In addition, she stated that Balwani, who is 20 years older than her, forced her to have sex with him.
Balwani has denied Holmes’ accusations. He is also accused of fraud and has pleaded not guilty.
Each guilty charge carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, which will probably be served concurrently. Holmes is expected to appeal.