SILICON VALLEYS FRAUD
Elizabeth Holmes founded her company Theranos as early as 19 years old. Theranos was going to be revolutionary to the medical world; the invention meant, with a mere fingerprick, this small black box would run blood tests and be able to give accurate diagnosis including identifying diseases in their early stages; it was the next jackpot. Who would've thought technology advanced so much that medical diagnosis would be given in under 24 hours? The pockets of the wealthy were ready. Due to Holmes having strong connections like Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Mattis and Betsy DeVos investors came like wildfire; up till one point the company had up to $9billion investments and had raised $700 million.
( picture on the left shows the machine that would be able to give accurate blood testing results by inserting as little as a finger-prick of blood). Image taken from NY Times.
Holmes mentions this in many talks shows that her main motive behind this invention was her fear of needles, so by only a small amount of blood the machine would work.
However, this was not the case. In 60 minutes Austrailia a whistleblower who worked within the lab mentions how the people working inside Theranos knew well the machine couldn't do what others outside thought it did. And in the meantime of testing a jerry-rigged machine was being used which led to thousands of medical scares and inaccurate results, inside the machine the little glass tubes were prone to breaking and was not built with an accurate system. More blood was needed to determine results so lab workers were told to dilute the blood, which is a major violation in the health field and carry on per usual. Previous employees who first tried to speak up about this were ultimately sued by Holmes.
A factor to analyse is Holmes was always "full of over the top ideas" as mentioned by her Standford professor of medicine Dr Phyllis Gardner. She further says "she had no knowledge of medicine and a rudimentary knowledge of engineering she was 19 and really didn't want any expertise" seems as though Holmes set out to be known as an inventor and did not possess the knowledge.
Her reoccurring fashion was black turtleneck sweaters, many say was inspired by her obsession with Steve Jobs, she has the wide eye looks like Zuckerburg and a sudden deep voice which started when she launched Theranos, Professor Phyllis mentions " When she came to me she didn’t have a low voice,".
Could it be Holmes also dropped out of Stanford just to gain the 'drop-out successful entrepreneur' title like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg acquired?
Theranos's downfall started when John Carryrou of the wall street journal carried out a lengthy secretive investigation after he received a tip from a medical expert who thought the Edison blood-testing device seemed suspicious. Despite legal threats, Carryrou published a content-filled article that mentioned how this device gave inaccurate results and revealing that the company had been using commercially available machines made by other manufacturers for most of its testing.
Although denying those claims and retaliating with"This is what happens when you work to change things, first they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world." Holmes was met with a warning letter in January 2016 after an inspection of its Newark, California laboratory uncovered irregularities with staff proficiency, procedures, and equipment.
Thereafter in July the same year, CMS officially banned Holmes from owning, operating, or directing a blood-testing service for a period of two years. Shortly after Walgreens and The US food and drug administration had cut ties with the company.
In April 2017 Theranos was slapped with a lawsuit by the state of Arizona for selling over 1.5 million blood tests and providing back inaccurate and concealed results.
On June 15, 2018, following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California, a federal grand jury prosecuted Holmes and former Theranos chief operating officer president (Holmes former boyfriend), Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors allege that Holmes and Balwani engaged in two criminal schemes, one to defraud investors, the other to defraud doctors and patients.
This case is still ongoing with recent trials in September 2021, controversially Holmes recently had a child; not a wise decision seeing as she is promised some sort of punishment, but it could be to garner some sort of sympathy.
Below is the 60-minute Austrailia episode which uncovers this case in more depth.
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