Sunday July 22, 2018

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
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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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The CBI Arrests Two Senior Retired Officers Of Bank Of India

The agency in an FIR had said that the DPIL, which manufactures electric cables and

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The CBI Arrests Two Senior Retired Officers Of Bank Of India: Bank Of India Fraud
The CBI Arrests Two Senior Retired Officers Of Bank Of India: Bank Of India Fraud. IANS

The CBI today arrested two senior retired officers of Bank of India in connection with alleged loan fraud of Rs 2,654 crore by Vadodara-based Diamond Power Infrastructure Ltd. (DPIL) in the bank. V V Agnihotri and P K Shrivastava, retired GM and DGM respectively, had allegedly granted undue favours to the company in granting credit limits, the officials said.

They said both have been arrested today and will be produced before special court in Ahmedabad tomorrow.The promoters of the company were arrested in April this year. The agency in an FIR had said that the DPIL, which manufactures electric cables and equipment, is promoted by Suresh Narain Bhatnagar and his sons Amit and Sumit, who are also the directors of the firm.

Bank of India
Bank of India. Flickr

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The loan, it said, was declared a non-performing asset in 2016-17. “It is alleged that the DPIL, through its management, fraudulently availed credit facilities from a consortium of 11 banks (both public and private) since 2008, leaving behind an outstanding debit of Rs 2,654.40 crore as of June 29, 2016,” the agency had said. (IANS)