A federal jury in San Jose has found Elizabeth Holmes guilty on four counts of fraud in the trial stemming from the collapse of her Silicon Valley start-up Theranos. The jury found the former Theranos CEO not guilty of four other felony charges. On the three remaining fraud charges, the jury remained deadlocked, according to the Associated Press.
Holmes, who was the founder and CEO of the failed blood testing company, pleaded not guilty to nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In the end, she was convicted on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Each of those counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. The jury, consisting of eight men and four women, deliberated more than 50 hours on and off during the Christmas and New Year’s period.
Holmes’ spectacular flame-out after rocketing to fame as the “next Steve Jobs” has captured Hollywood’s attention, spurring movie and TV adaptations, including Hulu’s “The Dropout” limited series, starring Amanda Seyfried as Holmes, which is set to premiere March 3.
The indictment accused Holmes and her business partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, of engaging in a “scheme, plan and artifice to defraud investors as to a material manner.” Balwani faces trial separately later this year.
Holmes’ trial, which started in September, has been a watershed in the world of white-collar crime, with the ruling serving as an indicator as to whether prosecutors will continue to pursue similar high-profile cases.
In 2018, Theranos paid a $500,000 fine to settle civil securities fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Before the company dissolved and liquidated that same year, it settled several lawsuits with partners and investors.
Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 and, soon after, dropped out of Stanford University to work on the start-up full-time, raising almost $1 billion in the process. With Theranos, Holmes promised a revolutionary technology that could detect a variety of health conditions with a simple blood prick. In 2015, a Wall Street Journal investigation led by investigatve reporter John Carryrou revealed that Theranos’ technology did not work, and that Holmes was seemingly deceiving investors and commercial partners.
There are currently two Holmes-centered projects in progress. Hulu’s “The Dropout” limited series, starring Amanda Seyfried as the Theranos founder, will premiere on March 3. Meanwhile, Apple Original Films’ “Bad Blood,” directed by Adam McKay and starring Jennifer Lawrence as Holmes, is in development.
Holmes’ case has also spurred a cottage industry for podcasters. ABC News’ “The Dropout” and the Carryrou-produced “Bad Blood” podcasts have chronicled the trial in great detail since its Sept. 8 start.
Carryrou also laid the foundation of the Holmes expose in his 2018 book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start-Up.”