Theranos founder and confidence woman Elizabeth Holmes was convicted of fraud by a federal jury in San Jose, California, on Monday, nearly closing the long saga of the disgraced Silicon Valley mogul who falsely claimed that her firm’s blood-testing machine could do elaborate lab work with tiny samples. She was found guilty on three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Holmes, 37, will be sentenced at a later date and likely faces prison time.
Holmes’s extended downfall was even more famous than her rise, fueling a cottage industry of books, podcasts, documentaries, and dueling upcoming dramas depicting her unbridled belief in her product and her seeming refusal to blink at all. Though the Theranos machine known as the Edison couldn’t actually do anything, Holmes managed to convince many high-profile investors and the bulk of an optimistic tech world of its nonexistent feats. In doing so, jurors found she engaged in a conspiracy to defraud investors, with each guilty count carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years; these terms would most likely be served concurrently, and Holmes is expected to appeal. Earlier Monday, after around 50 hours of deliberation, the jury told the presiding judge they could not reach consensus on three counts and found her not guilty on the remaining three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
While prosecutors called on 32 witnesses to make their case in the three-month trial against Holmes, the defense largely relied on her testimony from the witness stand, in which she claimed she never intended to deceive investors or the public. She also attempted to cast the blame on her ex-boyfriend, former Theranos president and chief operating officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, alleging that she was in an abusive relationship and that he influenced her statements to investors. Balwani has denied these allegations, and his federal fraud trial is expected to begin February 15.