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Theranos founder convicted of fraud in California

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After more than three months of trial and seven days of deliberation, the San José court jury found her guilty of defrauding investors, but acquitted her of certain charges and was unable to meet. agree on other facts that were alleged against him.

This conviction exposes the 37-year-old woman to several decades in prison, but the sentence will be pronounced at a later date by the federal court.

Elizabeth Holmes had founded Theranos in 2003, at the age of just 19, and promised diagnostic tools that were faster and cheaper than those in traditional labs.

With the help of a careful account, she had managed in a few years to gain the trust of luminaries and to raise funds from prestigious investors, attracted by the profile of this young woman, a rarity in the male world of engineers. Californians.

The beautiful story

In the early 2010s, she notably wore a black turtleneck sweater, in explicit reference to Apple founder Steve Jobs, to whom the world of tech constantly compared the young entrepreneur when she was at the height of her fame.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger backed her, as did former Defense Secretary James Mattis or media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who invested more than $ 100 million in Theranos.

At its peak, the company was valued at nearly $ 10 billion, and majority shareholder Elizabeth Holmes was the head of a fortune of $ 3.6 billion, according to the magazine. Forbes.

The story was beautiful. As a child, she hated needle pricks during blood tests. She was therefore going to invent a simple, fast and efficient machine that would allow everyone to carry out hundreds of blood diagnoses from a single drop of blood taken from the fingertip.

The descent into Hell

But in 2015, the Wall StreetJournal at raised the huge pot of roses: the fabulous machine promised by Theranos never worked.

In front of the San José court where the trial opened in early September 2021, a pregnant woman recounted how she mistakenly believed she had miscarried after using one of Theranos’ tests.

Employees testified that they warned the boss of their doubts about the operation of the machines. Some have also told the press about Ms. Holmes’ repeated lies to her teams and to investors.

For some, she embodied this Silicon Valley mantra:fake it ’till you make it“,” text “:” fake it ’till you make it “}}”>fake it ’till you make it (pretend until you get there). Elizabeth Holmes pleaded this good faith in court.

We were on track to accomplish our goals before the business collapsed, she told the bar. Failure is not a crime, to persevere and fail to achieve it is not a crime, for his part launched his lawyer, Lance Wade, at the start of the trial.

Mrs Holmes tried to save her business to the end, never selling a share, added the lawyer, wanting as proof of the good faith of his client the fact that she sunk with the boat.

The prosecution made a whole different reading of this fairy tale that turned into a financial nightmare.

Ms. Holmes chose fraud over bankruptcy; she chose to be dishonest, had attacked in his requisitions the prosecutor Jeff Schenk. This choice was not only ruthless, but also criminal, he had launched to the jurors.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the former entrepreneur deliberately deceived her partners to raise funds: more than 700 million dollars in all.

In response, Elizabeth Holmes assured jurors that her romantic relationship with her ex-COO, Ramesh Sunny Balwani – who will be tried separately – had been peppered with forced sex and that he was responsible for the technical problems of his company.

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