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Elizabeth Holmes was ranked as the world's youngest self-made female billionaire through her company Theranos but it was all a scam.

All the crimes Elizabeth Holmes and her boyfriend committed at Theranos

One day you’re ranked as the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, and the next is a trial that will determine your future in jail. Elizabeth Holmes is the Ana Delvey of the scientific world, but this isn’t the story of a fake heiress, all the contrary. In fact, Holmes’s case is so shocking because she had no reason to scam investors with her project the way she did for her company Theranos.

It all goes back to 2014, Elizabeth was age thirty and a Stanford drop-out like several essential figures. She was the founder of a nine-billion-dollar company that was supposed to revolutionize the disease diagnosis process. This technology was supposed to detect cancer & diabetes without the use of needles. However, by 2015 the technology she proposed was proved to be fake. In 2018, Theranos collapsed.

Although Holmes went to trial before, last month she was sentenced to eleven years and three months in prison. Most charges have to do with misleading investors and endangering patients while selling fake blood-testing technology, however, she wasn’t alone. Holmes accused her former boyfriend & business partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, of impairing her mental state through sexual & emotional abuse.

Crime or unconscious mistakes?

Holmes & Balwani, the former Theranos were charged with conspiring to mislead investors and customers. However, Holmes’s court case was delayed since she became a mother in July 2021. Balwani faced the same fraud charges, nevertheless, he had called the emotional & sexual abuse claims “outrageous”. On her side, Holmes claims to be a victim and not the villain she’s portrayed as.

Villain or not, she did make a mistake. Attorney Lance Wade said that Theranos collapsed due to several mistakes but mistakes are not crimes, as long as the involved ones are not aware of them. Apparently, Elizabeth Holmes kept scamming investors and messing with patients making them think the Theranos was in good condition when she knew it wasn’t. 

For this mistake, Elizabeth Holmes could have faced a maximum twenty-year sentence. Although her legal team fought for her imprisonment to be no more than eighteen months and preferably served from home confinement she must serve eleven years. Anyway, something that we must consider from Holmes is that as her lawyer, Kevin Downey says “she was not motivated by greed”.

But intentions are the least that matter when you took money away from people. Holmes should also pay $804 million in restitution, which covers most of the almost billion dollars Holmes raised from her investors. Some of the personalities investing in Theranos were software mogul Larry Ellison, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and the Walton family, Walmart owners.

What motivated Holmes?

Why would a well-prepared woman like Elizabeth Holmes keep going on a project she clearly knew wouldn’t work? Cases like Ana Delvy’s make us think of some sort of superficial elite recognition and improve her economy, but what is the reason behind Holmes Scam? Elizabeth Holmes was raised in an accommodated family in Washington DC, and was described as a “polite but withdrawn child”.

In businessman Richard Fuisz’s opinion, the only explanation is that there must have been severe pressure on Holmes to succeed. According to this source, whose family lived next to Holme’s,  she comes from a context where status & connections are all that matters. Honestly, this is a struggle several people go through, and pressure to “be someone in life” is always there, no matter the context. 

Another testimony comes from Doctor Phyllis Garder, an expert in clinical pharmacology from Stanford. She told Holmes her idea wouldn’t work since she was in college in 2002. However, according to Dr. Phyllis, Holmes seemed absolutely confident of her own brilliance despite her expertise. Impressive all the places pressure can take a brilliant mind. 

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