She was once largely considered Silicon Valley ‘s “Golden Girl”, but now, Holmes could arguably be considered one of the greatest scams ever to hit the tech industry. As an entrepreneur, Elizabeth Holmes, notably once claimed that her revolutionary blood-testing devices could essentially change the landscape of medicine as mankind knew it.
The 20/20 documentary: The Drop-Out comes amid a further ongoing federal investigation and ultimately Holmes’ fate will be decided at a later time. In the meantime, she has been barred from serving on any publicly traded or “general public” company for many years to come.
But unfortunately for Holmes, she would go on to deceive some of Silicon Valley ‘s most famous names with her lies and deceit about those very devices. Holmes’ as described in 20/20 ‘s documentary “The Drop Out” (perk: Available now on streaming services like Hulu.com) was and likely still is one of the most masterful fraudsters America has ever seen.
Theranos’ first officially popped on the scene in the mid-2000’s(around 2005-2006 or so). At the time, Holmes had presented her masterful idea that her “finger prick” blood testing devices were significantly different from those currently on the market. In fact, so different, that they would change the way tests were conducted and medicine had originally been administered.
Key Players in Theranos’ Extraordinary Fraud.
- Ramesh Balwani. According to Refinery29, Balwani and Holmes reportedly met during a trip to Hong Kong. The two were on an apparent trip in relation to a medical program at Stanford (during the time in which Holmes was actually a student). Balwani is a 59-year-old Pakistani multi-millionaire who allegedly helped Holmes with her scam, and, had essentially become one of the most powerful players within Theranos (before the SEC and what not shut them down).
- Elizabeth Holmes – [Obviously] – An aforementioned entrepreneur with huge goals; a mindset, and an alleged huge desire to lie. Holmes in 2002 managed to first allegedly “create” the idea of her supposed blood-testing devices, but, such wasn’t the first thing that managed to catch people’s attention. But instead, it was actually her very unusual obsession with Steve Jobs that actually caught peoples’ much larger and immediate attention. Holmes [after he scam erupted] would go on to be charged with 11 felonies; go through two federal investigations, and essentially lose everything.
How it took off:
Balwani gave Holmes her first multi-million dollar personal loan in the beginning. From there, she would go on to have a. suddenly shocking meeting with Walgreen’s (for those not in the US, Walgreens is a major pharmacy/convenience store in most states).
That meeting would go on to help define the very future of Theranos. Theranos would soon pop-up in numerous Walgreens locations across the United States. This would in part, ehum, become possible due to Rupert Murdoch; The DeVos Family, and several other billionaire families and or individuals [Bigger list later in this article]
But making her feat even more peculiar, she, managed to attract some of America’s biggest names in cultural history to her board. So historical, that some people had a hard time believing that she was essentially just trying to start a major medical company.
Her alarmingly impressive roster of board members:
Former U.S Secretaries of State George P. Shultz and Henry A. Kissinger, two former United States senators, and Gen. Jim Mattis, the current secretary of defense.
Her Donors :
*Robert Kraft, $100M
*The Cox Family (think Cox cable, etc) $100M
*Betsy DeVos (billionaire Secretary of Education)
*Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim
*The Walton Family (think Walmart and Sams Club) $150M
How it unraveled
Holmes’ unbelievable scam unraveled after a specific report in the Wall Street Journal. The Journal’s reporter John Carreyrou secretly underwent a bombshell investigation into claims made by the company in regards to their Edison medicine and finger-pricking devices (the devices that Holmes had long claimed would change medicine as mankind knew it).
In his investigation, Carreyrou discovered several ex-employees and whistleblowers who were more than willing to talk. In their secret conversations, Carreyrou discovered and managed to obtain confidential company documents that disclosed Holmes had quietly begun using commercially available devices for the supposed first-of-their-kind devices that Holmes had claimed she created.
Carreyrou ‘s book Bad Blood (see here) is now the subject and inspiration behind a major motion picture, and, two equally major documentaries about Elizabeth Holmes’ magnificent fall from grace.
Where is Elizabeth Holmes now?
As of 2019, Elizabeth Holmes is looking at more than a decade and change in prison (if it actually comes to jail time). She’s reportedly paid more than $1M in fines as of this writing, and, has been barred by the Securities and Exchange Commission from serving in a publicly traded company for at least 10 years.
But her troubles don’t start there. Investors and early donors in Theranos (as we named above) have all pretty joined in on a collective class action lawsuit against her. With a fortune that once topped $4BILLION, Holmes has an undisclosed amount of money at her disposal to cover her colossal legal fees.