Elizabeth Holmes Gets Eleven-Year Sentence for Theranos Fraud

The company's "blood testing revolution" was a forerunner of the mRNA vaccine revolution.

By John Leake

Yesterday I wrote about the FTX scandal, which involves a thirty-year-old living in the Bahamas, usually clad in shorts and flip-flops, who received billions from people all over the world with the promise he would make them rich by investing it in crypto currency. Nobody understood how exactly he was making billions for himself, and he never tried to elucidate it. In spite of no one having the foggiest notion about what he was doing, he was hailed as “this generation’s JP Morgan.”

The sudden fall of Sam Bankman-Fried coincided with the sentencing of former Theranos CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, who was ordered to serve 11 years in prison for defrauding investors of billions. Like Bankman-Fried, Elizabeth Holmes—who dropped out of Stanford in 2004 and styled herself after Steve Jobs with the same signature black turtleneck—was hailed as a Wunderkind who’d boldly entered a new frontier in her field.

As was the case with Bankman-Fried’s cryptic crypto exchange, no one understood how Holmes’s blood testing machine worked. She claimed that with just a small pinprick of blood from the finger (instead of the standard 3 ml drawn from a vein on the inside of the elbow) her machine could rapidly and accurately run a large panel of diagnostic tests. The machine was literally and figuratively a black box—purportedly containing proprietary technology that only Theranos engineers were authorized to examine.

To people who’d long worked in the field of blood testing for companies like Siemans, Abbott, and Roche, Holmes’s claims seemed incredible. How could her machine accurately run so many tests on such a tiny quantity of blood? The proposition sounded like magic.