SAN JOSE, California – Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood testing startup Theranos, was found guilty on Monday on four fraud allegations, in a case that symbolized the pitfalls of culture of hectic, hype and greed in Silicon Valley.

Ms. Holmes was the most prominent technical executive bringing forward fraud allegations in a generation of high-profile, money-losing startups. It took a jury of eight men and four women 50 hours to deliver a verdict, and they were convicted of three counts of wire fraud and one of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was found not guilty on four other charges.

Each charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, which is likely to be served at the same time. Ms. Holmes is expected to appeal.

The judgment is characterized by its rarity. Few technology managers are charged with fraud and even fewer are convicted. If sentenced to prison, Ms. Holmes would be the most notable female executive to sit in prison since Martha Stewart did in 2004 after lying to investigators about a stock sale. And Theranos, which broke up in 2018, is likely to be a warning to other Silicon Valley startups expanding the truth to get funding and business deals.

The verdict indicated that the jury believed the evidence presented by prosecutors showing that Ms. Holmes lied about Theranos’ technology to get money and fame. They did not allow themselves to be impressed by their defense, to blame others for Theranos’ problems and to blame their co-conspirator. Ramesh Balwani, the company’s chief operating officer and her ex-boyfriend, for abusing her.

The guilty verdict came at a hectic time for the tech industry, when investors battled hot deals, often ignoring potential warning signs for the companies they were investing in. Some have warned against it more Theranos-like catastrophes loom.



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