Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos founder, denied new trial
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will likely be sentenced later this month after a judge denied her a new trial.
Holmes, 38, was convicted in January on three counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud related to the blood testing company, which is now defunct but at one point had a $9 billion valuation.
Sentencing is slated for mid-November. While each count carries a potential 20-year maximum sentence, experts say they would likely be served concurrently, not consecutively.
According to The New York Times, this is the third attempt to get a new trial, each request citing new evidence. “But in an order on Monday, Judge Edward J. Davila of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected the requests and said they did not meet the bar for a new trial,” the article said.
The judge noted that she had not shown government misconduct took place during her trial, NBC News reported.
The company’s former chief operating officer, Ramesh Balwani, was separately convicted on 12 fraud and conspiracy counts and is to be sentenced Dec. 7.
The two convictions “solidified the failed blood-testing start-up as the ultimate Silicon Valley cautionary tale,” as New York Times reporter Erin Griffith reported in July, at the time of Balwani’s conviction.
“Holmes was convicted of four counts of fraud and acquitted of four counts of fraud. Three other charges were dismissed after the jury could not reach a consensus. She has appealed the verdict, and Mr. Balwani is expected to do the same,” the article said.
Holmes “spent years touting Theranos as a revolutionary way for patients to use a blood test to learn about health conditions, only for the company to unravel as an elaborate deception,” according to NBC News.
Holmes had claimed that a few drops of blood would tell people about whether they had hundreds of diseases and other potentially concerning problems, using Theranos’ technology. The technology didn’t produce what was claimed, but Holmes continued to make claims in order to raise money — which resulted in the convictions.
The Associated Press reported after her conviction that “the bold dream Holmes pursued when she founded Theranos in 2003 at the age of 19 had become a nightmare by the time she was indicted on felony charges in 2018.”
The article said she’d gone from an unknown to a “Silicon Valley sensation” whose “downfall was dissected in documentaries, books, podcasts” and “a Hulu TV series called ‘The Dropout’ starring Amanda Seyfried in the lead role.”
The promise of Theranos technology was less painful and cheaper blood testing that would be available in convenient locations like local stores.
“What most people did not know at the time was that Theranos’ blood-testing technology kept producing misleading results. That forced patients to undergo regular blood draws instead of the promised finger sticks and led Theranos to secretly test those samples using conventional machines in a traditional laboratory setting. Evidence presented at the trial also showed that Holmes lied about purported deals that Theranos had reached with big drug companies such as Pfizer and the U.S. military,” AP reported.
The Wall Street Journal in 2015 exposed the deception in a series of articles, which led to an audit by regulators, the company’s demise and, later, criminal charges.