Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes faces jail time for fraud charges. Her trial is set to begin in summer 2020.

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesFormer Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham US Federal Court on January 14 in San Jose, California.
  • Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani, the company’s former president, were charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
  • The charges stem from allegations that the two engaged in a scheme to defraud investors and a separate scam to defraud doctors and patients while at the failed blood-testing company, the Department of Justice said in June 2018.
  • A trial in the case is set to begin next summer, with jury selection during the week of July 28, 2020, and opening statements on August 4, 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Elizabeth Holmes will soon have her day in court.

On Friday, a judge in the US District Court for the Northern District of California said the trial for the founder of the blood-testing company Theranos and Sunny Balwani, its former president, would begin next summer. Jury selection will begin the week of July 28, 2020, and opening statements will start August 4, 2020, a spokesman for the US attorney’s office said.

Holmes and her attorneys had been pushing for a delay in setting the court date, asking prosecutors for millions of documents.

In June 2018, the Department of Justice charged Holmes and Balwani with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, stemming from allegations that the two engaged in a scheme to defraud investors and a separate scam to defraud doctors and patients while at the blood-testing company. Both Balwani and Holmes have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The DOJ said at the time that Holmes and Balwani could face up to 20 years in prison each, as well as a $US250,000 fine plus restitution, for each count on which they’re convicted.

Theranos officially shut down in 2018, 15 years after it was founded.

The blood-testing startup had racked up a $US9 billion valuation with its big vision to test for a number of conditions using just a small sample of blood. Holmes was featured on the covers of business magazines and included on lists of top executives. She had a net worth of about $US5 billion.

Then, in October 2015, questions started being raised about how the company’s technology worked, prompted by investigative stories from the Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.


Read more:
The Stanford professor who rejected one of Elizabeth Holmes’ early ideas explains what it was like to watch the rise and fall of Theranos

The final year

In March 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Holmes and Theranos with “massive fraud.” Holmes and Theranos settled with the SEC, and, as part of the settlement, Holmes paid a fine and was barred from being a director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years. Balwani, who employees saw as an “enforcer,” left the company in May 2016 after working there for seven years. He has also been charged with “massive fraud” by the SEC.

Facing setbacks in its Zika test development in spring 2018, Theranos laid off the majority of its remaining employees and appealed to investors for more funding.


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Holmes stepped down as CEO of Theranos in June 2018, the same day the DOJ charged Holmes with wire fraud. The company officially shut down in fall 2018. Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton reported that in the final days of the company, Holmes got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto, who accompanied her to work but wasn’t potty-trained, making a mess of the company’s offices and labs.

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