Elizabeth Holmes, the infamous founder of the medtech company Theranos, will stand trial in 2020 for a handful of crimes related to the former company. Some of the charges that Holmes faces include conspiracy to commit wire fraud and a handful of wire fraud charges in different amounts. Holmes was indicted in 2018, but won’t see a trial for another year as both legal teams prepare for court. Holmes’ crimes were outed back in 2015 when Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published a scathing expose of the company’s less than ethical practices.
The History of Theranos
Theranos was founded by Holmes in 2003 after she dropped out of Stanford. The former student raised hundreds of millions of dollars to fund a product that would change the medical industry forever, had it been possible. The machine, known as the Edison, would be able to deliver a comprehensive blood test in minutes, with just the prick of a finger. Gone were the days of costly, timely, uncomfortable blood work tests that required entire vials of blood in order to make a proper test.
Patients could simply prick their finger with the company’s pin prick vial. A nurse would then insert the vial into the Edison machine, which took up just a few cubic feet of space. The Edison would analyze the blood sample for dozens of diseases and illnesses, spitting out a report in seconds with a comprehensive breakdown of the patients’ medical profile. If it all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.
When Holmes stepped down as the Theranos CEO in 2018, the world was well-aware that the company was a scam. Holmes, who is now being charged with multiple counts of fraud, allegedly schemed to create the company with the idea that someday it would work. Once word got out around 2015 that the company was fraudulent—after a deal with Walgreens had come into play and the Edison machine was being used on real patients—the company’s value quickly fell from billions of dollars, to zero.
Elizabeth Holmes In 2019
A documentary following Holmes’ journey from tech billionaire to potential criminal premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January of 2019. A few months later, the same documentary premiered on HBO where it exposed the inner workings of Theranos throughout its nearly decade-long run as a Silicon Valley tech startup. The documentary followed the details of what Theranos was, what it was supposed to be and how it failed to deliver the outlandish promises it had been making since it was founded in the early 2000’s.
Now, Holmes awaits a trial that will take place in 2020 alongside former Theranos President, Ramesh Balwani, who is also being charged with similar charges to Holmes. The penalties for their alleged crimes, should they be found guilty, are up to 20 years in a federal prison and millions of dollars in fines. The trial will begin approximately one year from now, in August 2020.