After two weeks of deliberations, the jury in the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ fraud trial has returned a guilty verdict.
Holmes was found guilty on four out of 11 charges of fraud relating to her failed blood-testing startup, CNN reported.
“She was found not guilty on three additional charges concerning defrauding patients and one charge of conspiracy to defraud patients. The jury returned no verdict on three of the charges concerning defrauding investors, and Judge Edward Davila, who is presiding over the case, is expected to declare a mistrial on those charges,” the outlet reported. “The charges Holmes was found guilty of include one count of conspiracy to defraud investors, as well as three wire fraud counts tied to specific investors. Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of $250,000 plus restitution for each count.”
U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds reacted to the verdict in a statement.
“The jurors in this 15-week trial navigated a complex case amid a pandemic and scheduling obstacles,” Hinds said in the statement, which was read by a spokesperson outside the courthouse following the verdict. “The guilty verdicts in this case reflect Ms. Holmes’ culpability in this large-scale investor fraud, and she must now face sentencing for her crimes.”
Holmes’ trial lasted three months and saw more than 30 witnesses testify, including Holmes, who attempted to pass the blame for the fraud onto everyone but herself.
As The New York Times reported, Holmes’ defense attorneys “have argued that she was merely a young, naïve, ambitious founder who relied too much on others who gave her bad advice” and claimed she lacked experience and expertise. When Holmes actually testified, however, she presented herself the way she had done to investors when Theranos was still operating – as an expert about her company and its technology.
Her first day of testimony lasted just an hour and discussed how she founded Theranos. Her second day of testimony involved Holmes pointing “the blame at the scientists and doctors who had worked at her start-up, saying she believed what they had told her about Theranos’s technology,” according to the Times.
“Ms. Holmes also tried to shift the blame, noting that she learned about Theranos’s technology from the scientists and doctors who worked in the company’s lab. She testified that she believed them when they said the technology worked. The implication: Ms. Holmes could not have intended to deceive investors if she believed the technology was real,” the outlet added.
Holmes’ testimony so far has allowed her to gloss over Theranos’ failures, such as when she discussed the company’s early studies with big pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb and others. She also discussed conversations she had with potential pharmacy partners while downplaying or ignoring how those conversations ended.
As to the drug makers, representatives from Pfizer and Schering-Plough testified earlier in the trial that they were unimpressed with Theranos’ technology, something Holmes ignored in her own testimony.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Holmes claimed her company could provide rapid blood tests using a much smaller amount of blood than conventional tests. Holmes also tried to blame her ex-boyfriend and Theranos’ ex-president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of abuse. Text messages between the two, however, show a loving relationship although Balwani had a reputation for treating employees poorly.
In his documentary, “The Inventor,” filmmaker Alex Gibney revealed that while Balwani was considered a tyrant to those who worked for him, he was deferential to Holmes and always appeared supportive of her and firmly in the number 2 position at Theranos.
Other texts show Holmes and Balwani apparently discussing how to undermine the claims from two Theranos whistleblowers — Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung. The two also discussed how they would respond to reporting from The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou, who months later published a damning article showing that Theranos’ machines could not perform the blood tests they claimed. Carreyrou’s reporting revealed that Theranos was lying about its capabilities and using traditional blood analyzers to run most of its blood tests.