A jury in the United States convicted Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes guilty on four of 11 counts of misleading investors in the blood-testing company on Monday.
Holmes was found guilty of investor fraud and conspiracy but was found not guilty of three charges of cheating patients who paid for Theranos tests, as well as a related conspiracy allegation. On three counts involving additional, individual investors, the jury was unable to reach a decision.
After the decision was read, Holmes appeared poised, dressed in a grey suit. A date for sentencing was not scheduled right away.
Prosecutors allege that between 2010 and 2015, Holmes, 37, defrauded private investors by telling them that Theranos’ small machines could perform a variety of tests with just a single drop of blood from a finger prick. Holmes rose to prominence in Silicon Valley after starting Theranos at the age of 19 in 2003 and became recognized for her predilection for wearing black turtlenecks that resembled those worn by Steve Jobs. She attracted both high-profile wealthy investors and high-profile board members, including media magnate Rupert Murdoch. Forbes assessed her net worth at $4.5 billion in 2015.
When U.S. District Judge Edward Davila sentences her, she faces up to 80 years in prison, although she is expected to receive a considerably less sentence. Holmes was also charged with deceiving patients regarding the accuracy of the tests, but he was found not guilty. Holmes is expected to file an appeal, but her lawyers and a prosecutor’s office did not reply to demands for comment on Monday. After seven days of deliberation, the jury reached a decision.
The case brought to light Theranos’ unsuccessful attempt to transform laboratory jobs and testing. Prosecutors claim that the business secretly used Siemens-made conventional machines to do patients’ tests. After the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles claiming that Theranos’ gadgets including eyemart were faulty and incorrect, the company went bankrupt. In 2018, Holmes was accused alongside Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’ former chief operating officer and her love companion.
Balwani has also entered a not guilty plea and will face charges at a later date. Jurors heard testimony from former Theranos employees who said they left the firm after witnessing difficulties with its technology during the trial, which began in September in San Jose, California.
Former patients stated that if they had realized Theranos’ tests were defective, they would not have utilized them. On charges of scamming patients, Holmes was acquitted. Her lawyers contended that there was no statistical evidence that errors were occurring at such a high rate that Holmes was aware of the tests’ inaccuracy.
Investors testified that Holmes made a number of false assertions about Theranos, including that the US military was utilizing the company’s equipment in the field. Prosecutors claim that if Holmes had been honest with investors and patients, the company would not have received key money and income.
“She chose fraud over business failure. She chose to be dishonest,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Schenk said at the start of closing arguments. “That choice was not only callous, but it was also criminal.”
At trial, Holmes testified that she never intended to deceive anyone and that Theranos’ lab directors were in charge of test quality.
In closing arguments, defense attorney Kevin Downey said the evidence did not show Holmes was motivated by a cash crunch at Theranos but instead thought she was “building a technology that would change the world.”
“You know that at the first sign of trouble, crooks cash out,” but Holmes stayed, Downey said. “She went down with that ship when it went down.