Elizabeth Holmes convicted of fraud and conspiracy at startup Theranos

A jury has found Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes guilty of defrauding investors in her former blood testing start-up Theranos, which promised a breakthrough in healthcare while raising millions of dollars. dollars.

Holmes, who founded Theranos in 2003 as a 19-year-old student at Stanford University, has faced nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by wire.

On January 3, Holmes was convicted of four counts, including conspiracy against Theranos investors and wire fraud involving Theranos investors. She was found not guilty on four other counts and jurors did not return a verdict on three other counts.

Jurors told Judge Edward Davila they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on three counts in the seventh full day of deliberation, then returned to the courtroom this afternoon there to render verdicts on the other charges.

She will be sentenced at a separate hearing.

The jury – which included eight men and four women – deliberated more than 50 hours after closing arguments in the California courtroom in December, after three months of court proceedings and testimony from 32 witnesses.

Theranos, which closed in 2018 following a the Wall Street newspaper investigation and scrutiny of criminals and the media, promised to map the health of patients with just a small amount of blood.

It was billed as a female-led healthcare breakthrough in a male-dominated Silicon Valley, raising nearly $ 1 billion from venture capitalists and other powerful investors, including Rupert Murdoch. At one point, the company was valued at $ 9 billion.

At the heart of her lawsuit was whether Holmes was intentionally misleading investors, doctors and patients as she raised impressive investments.

She was ultimately convicted of wire fraud in connection with three wire transfers totaling over $ 143 million.

Holmes was also convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against investors between 2010 and 2015.

Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Schenk told the jury Holmes “chose fraud over business failure.”

“She chose to be dishonest with her investors and her patients. This choice was not only insensitive, it was criminal, ”he said in his arguments.

Holmes, who testified in her defense during the trial, argued that the failure of the business did not necessarily mean that she had committed fraud, and that the failure was not solely due to her – she pointed out Theranos CEO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who is also a former boyfriend. . He will face trial on similar charges later this year.

She also alleged that he mistreated her and exerted a powerful influence over her actions, allegations he denied.

Lawyers Kevin Downey told the jury that she “believed she had built technology that could change the world” and “sank with the ship when it sank.”

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