A jury found Elizabeth Holmes , once-ascendent Silicon Valley Star guilty for defrauding investors of her former blood-testing startup company Theranos. Theranos claimed a revolution in healthcare while also raising millions of money.
Holmes, a 19 year-old Stanford University student who created Theranos, was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wirefraud.
Holmes was found guilty in four cases, including conspiracy to defraud Theranos investors. On four additional counts, Holmes was not found guilty and jurors failed to return verdicts on three other counts.
Judge Edward Davila was informed by jurors that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision on three charges. Then, they returned to the courtroom in the afternoon to deliver verdicts in the other charges.
She will be sentenced at an additional hearing.
After three months’ worth of proceedings and 32 witness testimony, the jury deliberated for over 50 hours.
Theranos closed down in 2018 due to a Wall Street Journal probe and increased media scrutiny. They promised to map the health of patients with only a small amount.
It was seen as a breakthrough for women in healthcare in a traditionally male Silicon Valley. Rupert Murdoch, a powerful investor, raised almost $1bn. The company was valued at $9bn at one time.
It was central to Holmes’ trial that she was questioned about whether Holmes had intentionally misled investors and doctors as she collected large investments.
She was found guilty of wirefraud in connection to three wire transfers totalling over $143m.
Holmes was also found guilty for conspiring to commit wirefraud against investors between 2010-2015 .
Jeffrey Schenk, assistant US Attorney, stated to the jury that Holmes “choosed fraud over business failure.”
“She chose to be dishonest regarding her investors and patients. This choice was not just callous, it was also criminal,” he stated in his arguments.
Holmes, who was present during Holmes’ defense, said that her failure to pay her company’s dues did not necessarily mean that she had committed fraud. It was also not her fault. She pointed to Ramesh Balwani (Theranos CEO) who was her former boyfriend. He will face similar charges in court later in the year.
She also claimed that he had abused them and had strong control over their actions. These allegations he denied.
Kevin Downey, Kevin Downey’s attorneys, said that she believed that she had created a technology that could “change the world” and “went with the ship when it fell.”