The government’s case against Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, featured several key pieces of evidence that showed she intentionally deceived doctors, patients and investors in the blood testing start-up.
A fraudulent report
In 2010, Theranos created a 55-page report that prominently displayed the logos of the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Schering-Plough and GlaxoSmithKline. Investors such as Lisa Peterson, who manages investments for the wealthy DeVos family, and Walter Mosley, whose clients include the Walton family, testified that the report had helped persuade them to invest in Theranos.
The problem? Pfizer, Schering-Plough and GlaxoSmithKline had not prepared or signed off on the report. While prosecutors did not establish that Ms. Holmes created the report, witnesses like Daniel Edlin, a former Theranos senior product manager, testified that she had signed off on all investor material.
An investor letter
Theranos spent years discussing with the Department of Defense the possible deployment of its technology in the battlefield, but no partnership materialized.
Yet Ms. Holmes told potential investors in a letter that Theranos had signed contracts with the U.S. military — claims that helped persuade them to invest, the investors testified.
“We really relied on the fact that they had been doing work for pharma companies and the government for years,” Ms. Peterson said.
Emails between Theranos employees made up the bulk of the prosecution’s exhibits. Some of the emails showed when Theranos hid device failures, removed abnormal results from test reports and fudged demonstrations of its blood testing.
In one case, Mr. Edlin asked a colleague for advice on how to demonstrate Theranos’s technology for potential investors.
Michael Craig, a Theranos software engineer, recommended that Mr. Edlin use the demo app, a special setting on Theranos’s devices that said “running” or “processing” if an error had taken place, rather than display the mistake.
The app would hide failures from the client, Mr. Craig wrote in an email.
“Never a bad thing,” Mr. Edlin replied. “Let’s go with demo, thanks.”