Monday June 18, 2018

Indian American woman arrested for fraud in the name of fake blood cancer

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San Francisco: An Indian American woman was arrested on the charges of fraud for faking to be a blood cancer patient and raising funds through online fundraising sites like Giving Forward in San Francisco, media reports said.

Manisha Nagrani, 40, tried to raise funds by unwittingly linking her fake appeal to the fundraising site Giving Forward. It is not yet known how much money she siphoned off fundraising sites, the American Bazaar reported.

Hubculture.com — a global collaboration platform to expand collective consciousness — which had also pitched in for her by unwittingly linking her fake appeal to the fundraising site Giving Forward, reported that Nagrani has been working as a marketing consultant in San Francisco, and has worked across a number of PR and technology related fronts over the years.

Earlier in 2014, Nagrani on her Facebook page wrote, “Twenty days ago I received the news that no one wants to hear – my body is failing at its fight against the MDS (Myelodysplastic syndromes). I have received an ‘official’ expiration date.”

“If my doctors are right, I won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving again, I won’t see my God-children celebrate their next birthdays, I won’t have the chance to experience some beautiful dreams on my bucket list,” Nagrani wrote.(IANS)

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Theranos CEO Indicted On Criminal Fraud Charges

Technology a fraud

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Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, Nov. 2, 2015. Federal prosecutors said Friday they have indicted Holmes on criminal fraud charges for allegedly defrauding investors, doctors and patients.
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Fortune Global Forum in San Francisco, Nov. 2, 2015. Federal prosecutors said Friday they have indicted Holmes on criminal fraud charges for allegedly defrauding investors, doctors and patients. VOA

Federal prosecutors have indicted Elizabeth Holmes on criminal fraud charges for allegedly defrauding investors, doctors and the public as the head of the once-heralded blood-testing startup Theranos. Federal prosecutors also brought charges against the company’s former second-in-command.

Holmes, who was once considered a wunderkind of Silicon Valley, and her former Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Balwani, are charged with two counts conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said late Friday. If convicted, they could face prison sentences that would keep them behind bars for the rest of their lives, and total fines of $2.75 million each.

Technology a fraud

Prosecutors allege that Holmes and Balwani deliberately misled investors, policymakers and the public about the accuracy of Theranos’ blood-testing technologies. Holmes, 34, founded Theranos in Palo Alto, California, in 2003, pitching its technology as a cheaper way to run dozens of blood tests. Once considered the nation’s youngest female billionaire, Holmes said she was inspired to start the company in response to her fear of needles.

But an investigation by The Wall Street Journal two years ago found that Theranos’ technology was a fraud, and that the company was using routine blood-testing equipment for the vast majority of its tests. The story raised concerns about the accuracy of Theranos’ blood testing technology, which put patients at risk of having conditions either misdiagnosed or ignored.

“CEO Elizabeth Holmes and COO Sunny Balwani not only defrauded investors, but also consumers who trusted and relied upon their allegedly-revolutionary blood-testing technology,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alex Tse said in a statement.

Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes, flickr

SEC charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil fraud charges against Holmes and Balwani three months ago. Holmes settled with the SEC, agreeing to pay $500,000 in fines and penalties. Balwani, 53, is fighting the charges.

As the charges were announced Friday, Theranos said Holmes would step down as CEO of the company and its general counsel, David Taylor, would become the company’s next CEO. Theranos laid off most of its staff earlier this year and is widely expected to file for bankruptcy. Holmes remains the company’s chairman.

Also read:Two Indian-Americans among Forbes America 50 successful women

The company did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Friday’s indictments. (VOA)

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