Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the blood-testing startup Theranos,

Fallen US biotech star Elizabeth Holmes was indicted Monday for defrauding investors in her blood-testing startup Theranos, in a high-profile case seen as an indictment of Silicon Valley culture.

Holmes is a rare example of a technical exec being brought to book over a company in an area filled with carcasses of money-losing companies that once promised countless riches.

His case shone a spotlight on the blurred line between the industry and the bustle characterized by outright criminal dishonesty.

The jurors, in seven days of deliberation to reach their verdict, found him guilty of four counts of defrauding investors in what he claimed was a revolutionary trial system.

But the panel – which had heard weeks of sometimes complicated evidence – also acquitted him of four charges and could not reach a verdict on three others.

US Attorney Stephanie Hinds said in a prepared statement read outside the courthouse by a representative: “The guilty verdicts in this case reflect Ms. Holmes’ culpability in this massive investor fraud and she now faces punishment for her crimes.” Will happen.”

Holmes did not comment as she left the court when asked if she intended to appeal.

The 37-year-old now faces the prospect of 20 years behind bars for each conviction. He is free ahead of another hearing on the terms of his bail next week. No date was set for sentencing.

Holmes vowed to revolutionize health diagnostics with self-service machines that could run a series of tests on a few drops of blood, a vision that attracted high-profile backers and made him a billionaire by the age of 30. made.

He was hailed as the next tech visionary on the cover of the magazine and collected mountains of investor cash, but it all collapsed after the Wall Street Journal reported that the machines didn’t work as promised.

Prosecutors spent 11 weeks presenting more than two dozen witnesses as they painstakingly made their argument that Holmes knew his technology had fallen short, and deliberately misled investors and patients.

He personally placed the logos of pharma giants Pfizer and Schering-Plough on Theranos report, praising the company’s blood-testing technology, which was later shared with investors.

This was done without the firm’s permission, and was a key part of the prosecution’s argument that it deliberately tried to win backers to increase Theranos’ credibility.

‘fake it till you make it’

Although big-name Theranos investors such as Rupert Murdoch and Henry Kissinger were on the witness list, the most prominent proponent to take the stand was former Pentagon chief Jim Mattis.

The defense called only Holmes, a key witness, because he argued that the fallen entrepreneur had genuinely believed in Theranos’ vision, had invested himself heavily in its success and was simply failing.

Holmes also sought to shift some of the blame to Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, a boyfriend nearly two decades her senior, whom she had brought in to help run her company.

When she told the jurors that Balwani had defamed her and angrily forced her to have sex with her, she burst into tears – the allegations she vehemently denied.

He is due to stand trial separately for his role in the operation of the company and has pleaded not guilty.

Beyond the scope of the company’s documents, highly detailed technical questions, and Holmes’ periodic emotional testimony, loomed over the question of the nature of Silicon Valley.

One of the startup world’s most frequent clichés is “fake it until you make it,” where the aspiring entrepreneur with an idea that almost works, leads people to invest massive amounts of money in the hope that Celebrates that one day it will happen.

It’s extremely rare for founders of failed Silicon Valley companies — of which there are many — to face fraud lawsuits over unrealistic promises and unrealized investments.

Some tech world figures, such as former Reddit chief Ellen Pao, said sexism may have been a factor in the prosecution, but others argued that Holmes had gone too far in trying to pursue a persistently disconcerting vision.

After a 2015 Wall Street Journal report that questioned whether Theranos’ machines worked as promised — and eventually brought the company down — Holmes went on the offensive in the media.

“First they think you’re crazy, then they fight you, then all of a sudden you change the world,” she said in a TV interview.


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