Did Sunny Balwani 'abuse' Elizabeth Holmes? Theranos founder GUILTY on fraud charges
A federal jury found Thernaos founder Elizabeth Holmes guilty of fraud on Monday, December 3. Homes was unanimously found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and not guilty of four more charges. The jury was unable to reach a decision on three additional fraud charges. Holmes showed no emotion as the verdict was given
Holmes now faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge. A date for sentencing is yet to be determined. It is still unclear whether Holmes will be placed into custody immediately. According to court watchers, it is likely Holmes will appeal.
Before the verdict, San Jose federal court jurors deliberated for as many as seven days. They took into consideration evidence from a three-month trial that, where dozens of people, including Holmes herself, testified. Holmes was accused by federal prosecutors of spearheading a huge scam. She allegedly promised patients and investors that Theranos was building technology capable of revolutionizing medicine by testing a number of diseases using a single machine and a finger prick of blood.
Holmes raised nearly $1 billion from investors and became a Silicon Valley icon. She went on to pose for magazine photoshoots. However, Holmes reportedly lacked the technology to deliver on her promises.“She chose fraud over business failure,” federal prosecutor Jeff Schenk told the jury during closing arguments in December. “She chose to be dishonest. This choice was not only callous; it was criminal.”
The defense reportedly tried to shift the blame from Holmes to her ex-boyfreind and Theranos’ former chief operating officer Ramesh 'Sonny' Balwan. Holmes accused Balwani of manipulating her in the bedroom and also in the boardroom. She accused Balwani, who is nearly 20 years older than Holmes, of controlling how she behaved, spoke and ate.
“He told me that I didn’t know what I was doing in business, that my convictions were wrong, that he was astonished at my mediocrity and if I followed my instincts, I was going to fail,” Holmes said. Balwani said that “who I was was never going to be a person who would succeed in life or in business, so I needed to kill that person and become a new Elizabeth,” Holmes added. According to prosecutors, Holmes could be found guilty even if she really was abused by Balwani. Balwani has vehemently denied Holmes' accusations. He is also facing the same charges as Holmes in a trial slated to begin next year. While Homles has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of fraud and two counts of conspiracy, Balwani also has pleaded not guilty. He is set to be tried at a later date.