'Can't fraud it until you make it': Bay Area experts weigh in on Elizabeth Holmes conviction

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Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Bay Area experts weigh in on Elizabeth Holmes conviction
Bay Area attorneys and tech experts are weighing in on the conviction of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes made her way out of the courtroom Monday after a jury found her guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy involving defrauding investors.

"Do you have anything to say?" asked one reporter as Holmes left.

Holmes didn't look that way or respond to the question.

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The jury had deliberated for more than 45 hours over the course of seven days -- Holmes once claiming that her company had invented technology that could accurately and reliably test for a range of health conditions with a few drops of blood.

While Holmes was found guilty on the four counts, she was found not guilty on another four counts that involved defrauding and conspiracy against patients. The jury also failed to decide one way or the other on three additional charges.

"I found myself shifting to feeling very much more sympathetic to the investors. I realized that if you just get flat out lied to it's awfully hard to make a rational decision," said Anne Kopf-Sill, who is a retired biotechnology executive. Kopf-Sill spent more than thirty days in the courthouse watching Holmes and watching the trial.

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"I was also very influenced by the investor from Texas that recorded in secret, the pitch that Elizabeth was making, and it made me much more sympathetic to the investors that I had been before the trial. They seemed like they were really getting lied to," said Kopf-Sill.

"She consciously and purposely hid the data and falsified the data, and I think the charges that she was convicted on demonstrate that," said Dr. Mark Schwartz who is a biotechnology advisor and San Jose State professor.

"Anybody can have a vision. I'd like to cure cancer and I could conceive on ideas on how we could cure cancer and go around and tell everybody about it, but until I have a certain amount of data or proof of concept to demonstrate that, it's nothing more than a pipe dream, and I think hers was a pipe dream because she really had no data," said Dr. Schwartz.

RELATED: Years of intimate texts cast doubt on Holmes' claim of abusive relationship with ex-Theranos COO

As to what's next, a sentencing phase in the coming months.

"The guilty verdicts in this case reflect Miss Holmes culpability in this large scale fraud and she must now face sentencing for her crimes," said U.S. Attorney Abraham Simmons.

"The average in 2020 for one count of wire fraud across federal courts was 21 months, now she's convicted of conspiracy and three other wire fraud counts, four counts total. You can't fake it until you make it and you can't fraud it until you make it either," said legal analyst Michelle Hagan.

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