Elizabeth Holmes has been convicted of fraud for turning her start-up Theranos into a sham for blood tests.
The program deceived billionaires and other ignorant investors into supporting a seemingly revolutionary company whose medical technology never worked as promised.
After seven days of deliberation, a jury sentenced the 37-year-old to two cases of transfer fraud and two cases of conspiracy to commit fraud.
The verdict followed a three-month trial involving dozens of witnesses, including Holmes himself. She now faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge, although legal experts say she is unlikely to get anywhere near the maximum sentence.
The jury was bogged down on three remaining charges. The split judgments are “a mixed bunch to prosecutors, but it’s a loss to Elizabeth Holmes for being jailed for at least a few years,” said David Ring, an attorney who followed the case closely.
The federal prosecutor brought evidence to portray Holmes as a charlatan obsessed with fame and fortune.
In seven days on the witness stand, she presented herself as a visionary trailblazer in the male-dominated Silicon Valley, who was emotionally and sexually abused by her former lover and business partner Sunny Balwani.
The process also exposed the pitfalls of one of the most important steps Silicon Valley entrepreneurs take – a boundless optimism, whether or not it is warranted, known as Fake It ‘Til You Make It.
That ethos helped spawn breakthrough companies like Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Apple – the latter being co-founded by one of Holmes’ heroes, Steve Jobs.
Your belief could cut the wattage – at least temporarily – for the brazen promises and bold exaggerations that have become a routine part of the tech industry’s innovation drive.
Holmes remained seated with no apparent emotion when the judgments were read out.
She bowed her head several times before questioning the jury by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, and after the judge left the courtroom to meet with the jury individually, Holmes stood to hug her partner Billy Evans and her parents before she went with her lawyers.
Holmes did not respond to questions about the judgments thrown at her while walking from the courthouse to the nearby hotel where she had stayed during the deliberations of the jury.
She should remain in detention while awaiting her sentence, which will be determined by the judge.
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