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Elizabeth Holmes found guilty

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On four counts at least, which given the realities of trying to convict prominent white collar criminals is probably as good as could be hoped for:

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood testing start-up Theranos, was found guilty of four of 11 charges of fraud on Monday, in a case that came to symbolize the pitfalls of Silicon Valley’s culture of hustle, hype and greed.

Ms. Holmes was the most prominent tech executive to field fraud accusations in a generation of high-flying, money-losing start-ups. A jury of eight men and four women took 50 hours over seven days of deliberations to reach a verdict, convicting her of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was found not guilty on four other counts. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on three counts, on which Judge Edward J. Davila of California’s Northern District said he planned to declare a mistrial.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, terms that are likely to be served concurrently. Ms. Holmes, 37, is expected to appeal.

While the verdict was read, Ms. Holmes sat motionless, staring straight ahead. Then she gathered her belongings and whispered to her lawyer. She went down the row of family and friends in the court gallery behind her, hugging each one before leaving through a side door.

“It’s been a long case,” Judge Davila told the jury. “We collectively have been through many things.”

The verdict stands out for its rarity. Few technology executives are charged with fraud and even fewer are convicted. If sentenced to prison, Ms. Holmes would be the most notable female executive to serve time since Martha Stewart did in 2004 after lying to investigators about a stock sale. And Theranos, which dissolved in 2018, is likely to stand as a warning to other Silicon Valley start-ups that stretch the truth to score funding and business deals.

I’ve recommended it before but Bad Blood is an essential book not only about the Theranos collapse but how deeply many of our Overcompensated and Underachieving Elites were implicated.

…Andrew Gelman’s review of the book is really good, especially on the major role paid by David Boies. Paul might have further thoughts on this but the extent to which this kind of abuse of the legal system has become normalized is a big part of this story.

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