Elizabeth Holmes was convicted by a jury in California, on four counts of a federal indictment, because as the founder and chief executive of Theranos she lied to investors about the ability of machines Theranos was manufacturing: machines that were supposed to (but did not) revolutionize blood testing.
Theranos claimed that its machines could develop vast amounts of data from just a few droplets of blood, the amount one can get by pricking the end of one’s finger. Further, the devices could be purchased and maintained by individuals in their own homes, so that the earliest stages of diagnosis would have been removed from doctors’ offices and relocated amongst the would-be patients themselves, a “democratization” of healthcare.
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Holmes was not convicted on any of the counts that involved fraud at the expense of a patient. She was, however, convicted on counts that involved defrauding investors. Her downfall may be considered a triumph for freedom of the press, for she was exposed not by regulator diligence but by the investigations of a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, John Carreyrou, which led after months of work to a bombshell article in October 2015.