Smell the Blood: The Trial of the Founder of Theranos Holmes Begins | Business and Economy News
Prosecutors accused Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes of ‘lying and cheating’ as opening statements were pending in her much-anticipated fraud trial.
Opening statements began in connection with the highly anticipated $ 9 billion fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, with prosecutors portraying her as a liar and her defense team insisting that she was not than a hard-working biotechnology boss whose blood testing startup had failed.
Holmes, 37, has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy. She faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
She is accused of making false statements about the late Theranos, including technologies he was developing that he said could test hundreds of diseases by extracting just a few drops of blood from a finger prick.
Holmes said the blood samples would be tested in a machine he designed named “Edison” after famous inventor Thomas Edison, and that they would cost a fraction of traditional tests that required medical approval and collection of whole vials of blood. of a patient.
The promise to disrupt healthcare with cheaper, less invasive blood testing technology has helped Holmes secure a renowned board of directors that includes politicians and former diplomats. It has also attracted investment from business luminaries such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.
“This is a case of fraud – lying and cheating to get money,” prosecution team member Robert Leach told jurors in his opening statement.
“She had become, as she wished, one of the most famous CEOs in Silicon Valley and the world. But beneath the facade of Theranos’ success, there were significant brewing issues, ”Leach added.
Holmes’ attorney, Lance Wade, spoke after the charge.
“Elizabeth Holmes did not go to work every day with the intention of lying, cheating and stealing. The government would have you believe that her business, her whole life, is a fraud. It is wrong. ‘is not true, “said Wade.” In the end, Theranos failed and Mrs. Holmes walked away with nothing. But failure is not a crime.
Holmes had a backstory worthy of a rising Silicon Valley legend. A Stanford University dropout at 19, she filed for her first patent before she was 20 and founded Theranos in 2003.
At the height of the hype around Theranos, Holmes’ wealth was estimated at $ 4.5 billion, reflecting his 50% stake in the company.
But the startup collapsed speculators ‘style after a series of Wall Street Journal articles revealed that Theranos’ devices were flawed and inaccurate.
Some of Theranos’ wealthy investors, as well as former board members, are expected to testify at the trial chaired by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila.
Leach told jurors the evidence would show Holmes agreed with former Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to implement a scheme to defraud investors and patients of the business after losing interest from pharmaceutical companies.
“For lack of time and money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie,” Leach said.
Balwani, who has also pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, should be tried separately.
If Holmes takes the witness stand during the trial, her lawyers have indicated in recently unsealed documents that she will testify that some of her statements and actions while she was head of Theranos were the result of “intimate partner violence “inflicted by Balwani.
Balwani’s attorney denied Holmes’ claims.