© Reuters. Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes (center) arrives to attend a federal fraud trial in San Jose, California, USA, January 3, 2022. REUTERS / Brittany Hosea-Small
Authors Jane Lanhee Lee and Jody Godoy
SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) – A U.S. jury on Monday found Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes guilty of conspiracy to defraud investors in a startup to test blood, convicting her of four of the 11 counts.
Holmes was convicted on charges of defrauding three other investors, as well as conspiracy to do so. She was acquitted on three counts of fraud for patients who paid for tests from Theranos and related conspiracy charges. The jury could not decide on three points relating to individual investors.
Holmes, dressed in a gray jacket, looked calm after reading the verdict. The date of the verdict was not immediately determined.
Prosecutors said Holmes, 37, deceived private investors between 2010 and 2015 by assuring them that Theranos ’small machines could perform a series of tests with a few drops of blood from a finger prick.
She faces up to 80 years in prison when convicted by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, but is likely to receive a much lower sentence.
Holmes was also accused of misleading patients about the accuracy of the tests, but was acquitted of those charges.
Holmes is likely to complain. The jury’s verdict was handed down after seven days of deliberation.
Holmes gained fame in Silicon Valley after founding Theranos in 2003. In 2015, Forbes estimated its net worth at $ 4.5 billion https://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2015/09/29/2015-forbes-400- full-list-of-the-richest-people-of-america /? sh = 50b24e03c647.
Wealthy private investors, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, invested millions in the company after meeting with a founder known for her Steve Jobs-like black dolce.
The case shed light on Theranos ’failed attempt to revolutionize laboratory testing. The company secretly relied on conventional machines manufactured by Siemens to conduct patient tests, prosecutors said.
Theranos failed after the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles suggesting that its devices were flawed and inaccurate. Holmes was indicted in 2018 along with former Theranos chief operating officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.
She pleaded not guilty to nine counts of fraud and two counts of conspiracy. Balwani also pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.
During a trial in San Jose, California, which began in September, jurors heard testimonies from former Theranos employees who said they left the company after witnessing problems with its technology.
Investors testified that Holmes made false claims about Theranos, such as that his machines in the field were used by the U.S. military. And former patients told jurors they wouldn’t have used Theranos tests if they knew the tests were wrong.
Prosecutors said that if Holmes had been honest with investors and patients, the venture would never have attracted critical assets and revenue.
“She chose fraud instead of business failure. She chose to be dishonest,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Schenk said at the beginning of his closing remarks. “That choice was not only callous, it was also criminal.”
Testifying in her defense at trial, Holmes said she never wanted to deceive anyone and that the directors of Theranos Laboratories were in charge of the quality of the interrogation.
In closing remarks, defense attorney Kevin Downey said the evidence does not show that Holmes was driven by the loss of money in Theranos, but thought she was “building technology that will change the world.”
“You know that at the first sign of trouble thieves pay money,” but Holmes stayed, Downey said. – She fell with that ship when it sank.