Five Takeaways From the Verdict in the Elizabeth Holmes Trial

Theranos, which dissolved in 2018, is likely to stand as a warning to other start-ups that stretch the truth to score funding and business deals.

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the blood-testing start-up Theranos, was found guilty of four charges of fraud on Monday, capping a stunning fall of a prominent entrepreneur in a case that came to represent hazards of Silicon Valley’s “fake it till you make it” ethos.

The verdict stands out for its rarity. Few technology executives are charged with fraud and even fewer are convicted. And Theranos, which dissolved in 2018, is likely to stand as a warning to other start-ups that stretch the truth to score funding and business deals.

Here are five takeaways from the verdict.

The technorati in Silicon Valley and beyond have long tried to separate themselves from Theranos. But the fraud trial of Ms. Holmes has shown that just as Bernard Madoff was a creature of Wall Street and Enron represented the get-rich-quick excesses of the 1990s, Theranos and its leader were very much products of Silicon Valley. READ MORE

Ms. Holmes’s resolve was so forceful, and fit so neatly into the Silicon Valley clich? of achieving the impossible by refusing to admit it was impossible, that it inspired belief until the end. The verdict signaled the end of an era. In Silicon Valley, where the line between talk and achievement is often vague, there is finally a limit to faking it. READ MORE

The trial had everything: a charismatic, attractive and youthful female defendant; celebrities; sex; vast sums of money; the long shadow of Steve Jobs; lives of real people at risk. If it was one of the most famous criminal cases ever to come out of Silicon Valley, it was also a rare moment of judicial reckoning in tech. There are a lot of complicated reasons for this shortage of courtroom action. READ MORE

The case captivated the public — and spawned books, documentaries and even a fan club for Ms. Holmes — because she was a young female entrepreneur in heavily male Silicon Valley and because she appeared to push the boundaries of start-up culture and hubris to the limit. READ MORE

Ms. Holmes, 37, was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was found not guilty on four other counts. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three counts, which were set aside for later. After the verdict was read, defense and prosecution lawyers discussed plans for Ms. Holmes’s sentencing, the status of her release and the fate of the three hung charges. READ MORE

Leave a Reply