The fraud trial for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was supposed to begin next month. Now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, that date is likely to be pushed back until sometime next year. Here’s what that means for Holmes and what promises to be one of the biggest fraud trails of the century. =
Elizabeth Holmes was one of the most fascinating figures in the competitive Silicon Valley startup world–even before she was outed as a fraud. With her huge, unblinking eyes, deep voice, and style ripped straight from Steve Jobs’ closet, Holmes always stood out.
Then she promised to be able to deliver a truly ground-breaking product. Her company, Theranos, purported to complete complex blood tests with just a drop. The Standford dropout wooed investors with her claims and eventually raised billions of dollars.
There was just one problem: it was all lies. While we’re encouraged to “fake it until we make it,” there’s a point at which faking it becomes fraud. Holmes hit that point in 2015, when her startup company was revealed to be a $9 million fraud. The technology didn’t work. Not only did it not work, it couldn’t work.
It’s still not clear if Holmes sees herself as a conwoman or a visionary. Maybe, in Silicon Valley, there’s not that much difference. If she had been able to keep the fraud going until the company had a breakthrough, we’d be telling a very different story today.
If she’d eventually been able to deliver on her outrageous claims, then the self-styled heiress to Steve Jobs would be planning missions to Mars or whatever else it is billionaires do for fun.
Instead, she’s sitting in a luxury apartment–because of course, she made bail–waiting for her trial to finally begin.
While awaiting trial, Elizabeth Holmes secretly married hotel heir Billy Williams. Her husband is almost 10 years younger than her, but beyond that, we don’t know much about the couple. Williams studied at MIT (and actually graduated), then worked at various startups and tech companies, such as LinkedIn.
Apparently, they were first spotted together as a couple at Burning Man in 2018, which honestly tells you most of what you need to know about these people. She’s apparently quite happy with him, according to the posts an enterprising journalist dug up from their private Instagram account. At one point, she wished Williams a happy birthday, writing “The last year has been the best I’ve ever had.”
You know, the year she spent waiting for a trial that could land her in prison for 20 years. Incidentally, Holmes has ditched the black turtlenecks for mirrored aviator glasses and choker necklaces. Wonder if she also gave up the allegedly fake voice, too?
Holmes former lover, businessman Sunny Balwani, is also awaiting trial for his role in the Theranos fraud. He served as president and COO of the company.