Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes finally going on trial

The trial for Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the biotechnology company Theranos in 2003, is scheduled for the summer of 2020.

The hearing announcement comes just a year after Holmes stepped down from her position, and only months after HBO released a documentary detailing the illicit history of Theranos and its founder.

Nine of Holmes’ 11 criminal charges are for wire fraud, with some infringements ranging up to $100 million. The remaining two charges are for conspiracy to commit even more wire fraud against doctors, patients, and her investors. If convicted, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison and fines that total millions of dollars.

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The Story Behind Theranos

Holmes launched Theranos when she was only 19-years-old. Since then, she has successfully raised more than $700 million from private market investors.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s complaint, Holmes and the company’s former President, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, committed an elaborate act of fraud that’s lasted over a decade.

By projecting a false image about everything the company did, from its business methods and technologies to its financial performance, the pair fooled tech investors through the guise of a forward-moving Silicon Valley enterprise valued at $9 billion. Even major investors like Rupert Murdoch and Tim Draper supported the company.

However, suspicions grew in 2015 when John Carreyrou published articles calling Theranos into question for unusually ineffective practices. In 2018, he also released a book called “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” which presents his take on the full story.

The journalist’s detailed reports revealed that the company knowingly relied on inaccurate testing tools, exaggerated sample requirements, and procedure costs. Ultimately, the false information put nearly 176,000 consumers in a situation where they unwittingly lived with erroneous health reports.

Soon after Carreyrou published his original 2015 articles, officials deemed Theranos’ practices an active danger to public health. Since then, federal prosecutors have prepared their case against the company, collecting over 2 million pages of evidence to date.

Case Status

Despite the claims piling up against her, Elizabeth Holmes presents herself as innocent and has maintained that stance since her indictment.

Jury selection begins in July of 2020, and the trial starts in August. Notably, opinions about Holmes seem collectively low. With everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the Securities and Exchange Commission calling out Theranos, her prospects look bleak.

In the meantime, Jennifer Lawrence will star in a feature film that dramatizes Holmes’ story. The movie is set to premiere in 2020.

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