Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty of fraud in a decision that some experts believe sets a chilling precedent.
Holmes was once the star of Silicon Valley, with some likening her to Steve Jobs. Her medical company promised breakthroughs, wowed investors, and gained widespread support.
Unfortunately, Theranos never delivered on Holmes’ promise, and the ex-CEO was accused of defrauding investors and indicted on multiple charges. After a week of deliberation, the jury found her guilty of three counts of wire fraud, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. The jury was split on three additional charges, with Holmes acquitted of the remaining four.
Some experts are worried that the guilty verdict sets a dangerous precedent, one that will have many entrepreneurs afraid to market their companies, or attract investors.
“This is an absurd verdict. Any startup founder who believed that their technology wasn’t there yet but had faith that it ultimately would be should be very nervous tonight,” Esquire Digital’s chief legal analyst, Aron Solomon, told WPN. “The narrative here shows that the jury failed to understand startup culture and what founders do as a matter of course. Ultimately, the jury is saying that they believe that a young woman who started her company as a 19 year-old college dropout had the power to deceive some of the most successful investors in the world. This simply doesn’t hold the weight of reason.”