There’s an old adage that says if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Both the medical tech company Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes fit that warning to a tee.
Holmes was convicted on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy in a federal court Monday for deceiving investors about her company’s wonder medical technology, Breitbart reported. Holmes raked in over $900 million on a blood-testing machine that failed to deliver on its lofty promises.
Theranos’ miniLab device was supposed to change the way blood tests were conducted. With just a single drop of blood, the machine required a simple finger prick instead of several vials of blood to provide scads of medical data.
Unfortunately, the technology simply didn’t live up to its hype, and neither did Holmes. Dubbed the next Steve Jobs, Holmes was a celebrated Silicon Valley icon whose high profile allowed her to raise money for the technology that was riddled with errors.
“This is inspiration,” President Joe Biden had said in 2015 as the then-vice president and just one of the many high-profile politicians and investors who sang her praises. “It is amazing to me, Elizabeth, what you’ve been able to do. What’s most impressive to me is you’re not only making these lab tests more accessible … empowering people whether they live in the barrio or a mansion, putting them in a position to help take control of their own health.”
— Theranos (@theranos) July 23, 2015
However, rather than a revolution that would unseat giants Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics in the blood-testing industry as promised, it soon became apparent that the Theranos technology was wildly inaccurate, rendering it completely useless. Despite contracts with Safeway and Walgreens, there was no salvaging the miniLab device or Holmes’ reputation.
Instead, it became apparent that Holmes allegedly swindled investors out of millions of dollars on these false claims. Ultimately, Holmes was charged with 11 criminal counts and faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the four counts she’s convicted of to date.
Holmes played fast and loose with the truth, and it caught up to her in the end. Though this is a cautionary tale for investors looking to get rich, history proves that the wealthy and powerful elite are bound to be taken in like this another time.