Monday June 24, 2019

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)

Next Story

A Quick Guide to White Collar Crime

Take care that you never fall victim to a white collar crime and don’t be afraid to report it to the police if you do

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Cyber crime, U.S. programming
A man types on a computer keyboard in front of displayed cyber code in this illustration picture. VOA

There are many different types of crime all with their own legal definitions and police proceedings. This is because depending on the crime, it will have to be handled in the correct way. White collar crime is one type of offence which is often spoken about as individual crimes but never as one whole genre. What do we mean by white collar crime? Let’s take a look.

What is White Collar Crime?

White collar crime includes; theft, fraud, identity theft and forgery as well as many other types of crime that involve money and are nonviolent. The FBI deals with these crimes in the US, however in the UK, the police will be involved and then will be transferred to a team depending on what the nature of the crime is. There are many different branches of police which deal with these offences, from Vice to the National Crime Agency.

Theft

There are some different types of theft that you can fall victim to, for example, theft of personal belongings, shop goods, robbery, armed robbery and many others. Each of these types of theft can cause a lot of stress to a person and it can be difficult to deal with. When you fall victim to theft, it is always important to report it to the police straight away to make sure the incident can be dealt with as soon as possible. Try to leave the scene of the crime as untouched as possible as that will help the investigation.

Fraud

Another type of white collar crime is fraud; this can happen to anyone and can be done in a number of ways. All it takes is for you to enter your details into a fake website where someone can then access your details and pretend to be you, which means you can then end up losing money. Never open a link in an email if you don’t trust it and always be sure that you don’t give out valuable information like bank account details over the phone.

crime
There are many different types of crime all with their own legal definitions and police proceedings. Pixabay

Forgery Crimes

Like the rest of the white collar crimes, you will find that there are many different ways you can be a victim of forgery crimes. This is because people can forge art and archaeological artefacts and sell them on to buyers at the same price or more than what an original piece would cost.

People also forge items such as documents, designer brands, and even money. When it comes to forgery, sometimes it is impossible to tell if the item is real or not which makes it so hard to tell without expert help. In order to avoid falling victim to a forgery fraud, only purchase items from well-known sellers or seek expert advice before purchasing. Most high-end brands will be able to provide a list of their third-party stockists.

Also Read- Asian Markets Fall Steeply over Signs of Escalating US-China Trade Tension

In Conclusion

Overall, white collar crimes might not always be life-threatening crimes as much as some other crimes can be; however, they can still cause huge stress or impact on the victim’s life. Take care that you never fall victim to a white collar crime and don’t be afraid to report it to the police if you do.