Elizabeth Holmes: Founder of blood-testing startup Theranos guilty of fraud

4 January 2022, 06:24 | Updated: 4 January 2022, 07:44

Elizabeth Holmes has been convicted of fraud. (file photo)
Elizabeth Holmes has been convicted of fraud. (file photo). Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The former CEO of blood-testing startup Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, has been found guilty of both fraud and conspiracy.

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It comes after the founder used the company to dupe billionaires and other investors into backing the seemingly revolutionary startup, with the medical technology never working as promised.

A jury convicted the 37-year-old on two counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud after seven days of deliberation.

The verdict followed a three-month trial featuring dozens of witnesses - including Holmes herself.

She now faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, although legal experts have suggested she is unlikely to receive anything close to the maximum sentence.

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Holmes during her trial in the US.
Holmes during her trial in the US. Picture: Alamy

The jury also deadlocked on three remaining charges.

The split verdicts are "a mixed bag for the prosecution, but it's a loss for Elizabeth Holmes because she is going away to prison for at least a few years", said David Ring, a lawyer who has followed the case closely.

Federal prosecutors presented evidence to depict Holmes as a charlatan obsessed with fame and fortune, but she cast herself as a visionary trailblazer in the male-dominated Silicon Valley.

She also claimed she was emotionally and sexually abused by her former lover and business partner, Sunny Balwani.

The trial exposed the pitfalls of one of the go-to moves of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs - conveying a boundless optimism regardless of whether it is warranted or not.

Holmes remained seated and expressed no visible emotion as the verdicts were read.

She bowed her head several times before the jury was polled by US District Judge Edward Davila and got up to hug her partner and parents before leaving with her lawyers.

She will remain free on bond while awaiting sentencing, which will be determined by the judge.