Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced Monday on four counts of fraud and conspiracy, ending a lengthy trial that has captivated Silicon Valley.
The jury found her not guilty of four more counts. On the three remaining charges, the jury was deadlocked.
Holmes remained seated and expressed no emotion as the verdicts were read. His partner, Billy Evans, also stood still.
Once famous entrepreneur, Holmes has been accused of fooling investors and patients over flawed blood testing technology which she hailed as a medical breakthrough.
Nine of the 11 charges against her were charges of fraud and two revolved around a conspiracy to commit fraud from 2010 to 2015. During this time, Holmes became a Silicon Valley sensation of a worth US $ 4.5 billion on paper, based on his promise that Theranos’ technology would revolutionize healthcare.
Convincing concept – which failed
She could face more than 20 years in federal prison.
“For all intents and purposes, the government only needs a guilty verdict on one count,” said Keri Curtis Axel, a former federal prosecutor currently working as a trial attorney at the Los Law Firm. Angeles Waymaker, before the verdict.
After starting Theranos in 2003 when she had dropped out of school at the age of 19, Holmes began working on a technology that she had repeatedly promised could detect hundreds of health issues with just a few drops of blood taken by prick of the finger. Conventional methods require a needle inserted into a person’s vein to draw a vial of blood for each test, which then has to be done in large laboratories.
Holmes said she believes she can provide more humane, convenient, and cheaper blood tests with “mini-labs” at Walgreens and Safeway stores across the United States, using a small testing device dubbed “Edison.” in homage to the famous inventor.
The concept turned out to be convincing. Theranos has raised over US $ 900 million from a long list of elite investors, including savvy billionaires such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and software mogul Larry Ellison.
But most people were unaware that Theranos blood testing technology continued to produce misleading results that led the company to secretly rely on conventional blood tests. Evidence presented at trial also showed Holmes lied about the alleged deals Theranos made with big pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, and with the US military.
In 2015, a series of explosive articles in the Wall Street Journal and a regulatory audit of Theranos’ lab uncovered potentially dangerous flaws in the company’s technology, leading to the eventual collapse of the company.