The startup world is not short of burst bubbles, but the Theranos case is probably the most spectacular that has ever happened in Silicon Valley. Because the company that wanted to offer quick and extensive blood tests was a big scam. Now the founder has been sentenced. The name Elizabeth Holmes will probably stand for fraud and deception for a long time to come.
Because the former startup prodigy, who preferred to wear black turtlenecks in honor of her idol Steve Jobs, is considered to be the greatest blender in a scene that is not lacking in blenders. The 19-year-old when the company was founded in 2003 is said to have duped investors for many years and earned more than $900 million as a result. The turning point came in 2015 after medical experts and investigative journalists exposed Therano’s claims as lies. Because a small drop of blood should be enough to identify a whole range of diseases and values, cheaply, quickly, and without complex analysis equipment and methods.
Imprisonment is very likely
Most recently, Elizabeth Holmes stood before the court and had to answer on eleven counts. Last night she was found guilty of four cases of fraud and premeditated false allegations. The 37-year-old was acquitted of four charges of fraud against patients who had taken Theranos’ blood tests. The jury was unable to reach an agreement on three cases of deceiving investors. As the New York Times writes, the verdict is quite unusual.
Few technology executives are charged with fraud and even fewer are convicted. The Theranos case must therefore also be seen as a warning to others. The sentence is due to be announced next week, Holmes faces several years imprisonment, she could even spend a double-digit number of years behind bars.
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