Elizabeth Holmes has been convicted of fraud for turning her blood testing start-up Theranos into a sophisticated sham.
The scheme tricked billionaires and other unwitting investors into supporting a seemingly revolutionary company whose medical technology never performed as promised.
A jury convicted the 37-year-old man on two counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud after seven days of deliberation.
The verdict follows a three-month trial with dozens of witnesses, including Holmes herself. She now faces up to 20 years in prison on each count, although legal experts say she is unlikely to receive anything close to the maximum sentence.
The jury found itself deadlocked on three other charges. The split verdicts are “a mixed bag for the prosecution, but it is a loss for Elizabeth Holmes as she is going to jail for at least a few years,” said David Ring, an attorney who has followed the case closely.
Federal prosecutors have presented evidence to portray Holmes as a charlatan obsessed with fame and fortune.
In seven days on the witness stand, she introduced herself as a visionary trailblazer in the male-dominated Silicon Valley who was emotionally and sexually abused by her former lover and business partner, Sunny Balwani.
The trial also exposed the pitfalls of one of Silicon Valley’s must-have entrepreneurial movements – conveying boundless optimism, whether justified or not, known as Fake It ‘Til You Make It.
This philosophy helped hatch groundbreaking companies like Google, Netflix, Facebook and Apple – the latter co-founded by one of Holmes’ heroes, Steve Jobs.
His conviction could reduce the power – at least temporarily – on the brash promises and daring exaggerations that have become a common part of the tech industry’s innovation bustle.
Holmes remained seated and expressed no visible emotion as the verdicts were read.
She nodded several times before the jury was questioned by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila and after the judge left the courtroom to meet with the jurors individually, Holmes stood up to hug her partner, Billy Evans, and his parents before leaving with his lawyers.
Holmes did not respond to questions about the verdicts sent to her on a walk from the courthouse to the nearby hotel where she stayed during jury deliberations.
She was to remain free on bail pending sentencing, which will be determined by the judge.