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Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of blood-testing startup Theranos.

Elizabeth Holmes, IW’s 2015 Manufacturing Tech Leader, Sentenced for Fraud & Conspiracy

Jan. 4, 2022
Holmes is likely to serve prison time for the charges, which cap her fall from grace as CEO of Theranos.

Once a paragon of manufacturing and technological innovation, Elizabeth Holmes was convicted January 4 by U.S. federal court four charges of fraud. The former founder and CEO of Theranos, a medical-engineering startup, Holmes was found guilty of misleading investors of the blood-testing company about what Theranos’ devices were capable of, but acquitted of similar charges alleging she had misled patients.

Three more charges are expected to be dropped by a federal judge, the Associated Press reports. The verdicts likely indicate she will go to prison for several years at least.

The case brings Holmes’ case to a close after the would-be Silicon Valley medical innovator was first charged in 2018 for misleading company practices at Theranos, the blood-testing company she founded in an attempt to become the Steve Jobs of medical manufacturing.

In Holmes’ vision for the company, Theranos would invent and manufacture blood-testing machines that could test for many conditions at the same time using only a drop of blood, then miniaturize the machines and deploy them at local pharmacies.

The vision was captivating. At its peak, Theranos recorded a market valuation of $10 billion, and its heralds in the press included IndustryWeek, which named Holmes Manufacturing Technology Leader of the Year for 2015. Less than a month after the IW cover story featuring Holmes was published, though, a damning Wall Street Journal exposé revealed that the company was actually testing blood using traditional blood-testing machines from companies like Siemens.

Prosecutors alleged that that misrepresentation also constituted fraud on Holmes’ part, but the jury acquitted her on those charges. Holmes and her lawyers blamed that as well as other crimes on Theranos’ COO, Ramesh Balwani. Balwani will go on trial for his own part in the Theranos saga next year in the same court.

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