The founder of health care technology firm Theranos has been convicted.
According to reports, Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty this week on four charges with three other charges resulting in a deadlocked jury.
Prosecutors lay out scope of fraudulent scheme
She was facing nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy. Jurors convicted her of three wire fraud counts and one conspiracy count.
Each of the guilty verdicts comes with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, meaning she faces serious time behind bars regardless of the outcome of the other charges against her.
Prosecutors asserted that she deceived investors and patients alike regarding the efficacy of her company’s quick-acting blood test, which was heralded for requiring a small blood sample and using a small machine.
As it turned out, the product was a total failure and it quickly became clear that Holmes had defrauded hopeful patients and those who backed the project financially.
The trial revealed that Holmes managed to convince investors to drop more than $900 million into her company, which she founded in 2003 after dropping out of Stanford University.
“Amid a pandemic and scheduling obstacles”
In response to the recent guilty verdicts, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds said: “The jurors in this 15-week trial navigated a complex case amid a pandemic and scheduling obstacles.”
She determined that the jury’s decision reflects the defendant’s “culpability in this large-scale investor fraud, and she must now face sentencing for her crimes.”
It remains to be seen how much prison time Holmes will receive. Although each charge carries a possible 20-year sentence, she is likely to receive far less than the maximum. Nevertheless, her conviction on multiple counts represents a reminder that even white-collar criminals cannot expect to escape punishment.
As of this writing, the presiding judge had not announced a sentencing date. Various factors are likely to influence the sentence she receives, including the fact that she has no prior convictions as well as the staggering level of fraud she was determined to have committed against investors.
Despite the guilty verdict, defense attorneys have several options available to challenge her conviction, meaning that this story is likely to attract even more media attention as the case heads toward the sentencing phase.