Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos: Is she guilty of fraud?
Becoming a billionaire after coming up with a revolutionary idea is everyone’s dream. Elizabeth Holmes was on top of the world after she founded blood-testing startup Theranos in 2014.
Theranos was one of Silicon Valley’s unicorn startups estimated to be valued around nine billion. Hailed as a genius, Holmes’ revolutionary idea made her the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire. You go girl!
After years of living on top, Holmes’ reputation took a fall as the shortcomings & inaccuracies of Theranos’ technology were exposed. Holmes was removed as CEO and charged with “massive fraud” after trying to cover up the allegations. The company was forced to close down and eventually the entire operation was shut down altogether.
Holmes has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and is currently awaiting trial, which has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, Holmes’ lawyers are attempting to have the case dismissed arguing that the indictment was “broad” and “full of ambiguity”; however, after unsuccessful results, the lawyers have decided to take on a different approach.
According to Bloomberg News, Elizabeth Holmes and her lawyers are looking into the “mental disease” defense. The defense team is arguing that Holmes can’t be guilty of scamming investors & defrauding doctors & patients because she wasn’t aware of her actions – “the dog ate my homework” is likely their third option.
The defense team plans to present Elizabeth Holmes as a woman with a “mental disease or defect . . . bearing on the issue of guilt”; however, the lawyers stated that prosecutors wouldn’t be allowed to examine her. After scratching his head and examining this information, Edward J. Davila, the judge overseeing the case, didn’t agree and shot down the argument.
“The court agrees with the government that its experts must be permitted to conduct their own examination of defendant Holmes in order to mount an effective rebuttal,” Davila decided. He ruled that the government should be allowed to conduct an examination of Holmes because claiming to be mentally incapacitated with no evidence seemed odd.
Holmes faced many other charges including charges with former chief operating officer & lover, Sunny Balwani. The accumulation of the charges have the power to put the two away for twenty years.
If Holmes wants her “mental disease” case to work, her lawyers need to establish that she’s not the genius entrepreneur people claim her to be, but a woman who is clinically unable to know right from wrong.
Former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade provided her insight to the situation and stated that the case was not similar to the ones in the movies, “an insanity defense in federal cases is rare and hard to fake,” she declared.
Elizabeth Holmes and her defense team have a great deal of work to do in the following months as they are walking on thin ice. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to push the case back, maybe the defense team will have enough time to come up with something a little more probable.