Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of failed biotech startup Theranos, was found guilty on Monday of four out of 11 federal charges, including one count of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud, according to the Associated Press. Holmes now faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 plus restitution for each count.
The jury, which consisted of eight men and four women, heard from 32 witnesses over the course of the three-month trial, including Holmes, 37, who took the stand in her own defense. After more than 50 hours of deliberation, the jurors determined that Theranos had tricked investors into believing the company developed a medical device capable of accurately detecting many different diseases from just a few drops of blood.
“The jurors in this 15-week trial navigated a complex case amid a pandemic and scheduling obstacles,” U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds said. “The guilty verdicts in this case reflect Ms. Holmes’ culpability in this large-scale investor fraud, and she must now face sentencing for her crimes.”
Holmes was acquitted on four counts that involved deceiving patients who had purchased the company’s flawed blood tests. The jury deadlocked on three other charges.
The now disgraced Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 when she was 19. She soon dropped out of Stanford to oversee the company full-time, and garnered significant media attention after raising $945 million from prominent investors such as Rupert Murdoch, Walmart’s Walton family, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison.
However, Holmes’s meteoric rise to fame took a turn following the publication of a 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation, which revealed that Theranos only performed about a dozen of the hundreds of advertised tests with its own blood testing lab instrument whose accuracy numerous former employees called into question. Instead, the company processed samples using machines made by other well-established companies. Holmes’ dramatic fall has played out publicly in the six years since, culminating on Monday with her criminal conviction.