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Elizabeth Holmes thought she could revolutionize the medical field when she founded her company, Theranos, in 2003. Holmes' value skyrocketed as she promised the world that she would democratize healthcare, but her plans soon fell apart when her company was exposed as a scam. Now, more than a decade later, the idiosyncratic entrepreneur finds herself the center of media attention again as the rise and fall of Holmes is the topic of HBO's latest documentary, "The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley," directed by Alex Gibney. So where is Holmes now?
Gibney's documentary concludes with the bottoming out of Theranos in the wake of a 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation that revealed the devices and procedures invented by Theranos, which were supposed to get all sorts of data from just a tiny blood sample, gave inaccurate results and that the company had instead been using other commercially available methods in many cases. As a result of the scrutiny, Theranos fired around 40% of its 800 employees in January 2017, according to The Verge.
By August 2018, Theranos had fired almost everyone previously employed by the organization. The company officially quickly began the process of officially dissolving, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Theranos and Holmes were also forced to settle suits from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in April 2017 according to Business Insider. In March 2018, Holmes agreed to pay $500,000 and give up majority control of Theranos to settle charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Holmes has admitted no wrongdoing in any of the settlements.
But in June 2018, Holmes and former Theranos COO and president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani were indicted by federal prosecutors on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to The Washington Post. The two potentially face 20 years in prison if found guilty of their crimes.
Catherine Hermsen, Acting Director of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, decried the actions of Holmes in a statement released by the Department of Justice at the time.
"The conduct alleged in these charges erodes public trust in the safety and effectiveness of medical products, including diagnostics," said Hermsen, according to Ars Technica. "The FDA would like to extend our thanks to our federal law enforcement partners for sending a strong message to Theranos executives and others that these types of actions will not be tolerated.”
Holmes has pleaded not guilty to the accusations made against her. She is set to appear in court for a status hearing on April 22, 2019, according to Elle.
Shockingly, despite the legal action being taken against her, Holmes was attempting to start yet another company as of June 2018 and had been courting investors in California, said John Carreyrou, who penned the original Wall Street Journal bombshell article that catalyzed the Theranos downfall, on "The Hive" podcast.
And even as her company fell apart, Holmes had difficulty parting with her wealthy lifestyle, reported Nick Bilton of Vanity Fair.
"From the early days of the company, she had insisted on flying in a private jet. As the company’s legal problems mounted, its costs skyrocketed, but Holmes had a hard time weaning herself off certain luxuries," Bilton wrote in February 2019. "She still had her own personal security detail, drivers, personal assistants, and a personal publicist who was on retainer for $25,000 a month, according to one of the former executives."
Meanwhile, Holmes continues to act as if nothing is wrong with her businesses.
“The company is falling apart, there are countless indictments piling up, employees are leaving in droves, and Elizabeth is just weirdly chipper,” a former senior executive told Bilton. “Elizabeth sees herself as the victim ... She often confuses the message for the messenger."
According to Bilton, Holmes is currently living in a luxury apartment in San Francisco with her pet husky dog (who she sometimes claims is a wolf) Balto. She is engaged to a younger hospitality heir currently working in the tech field. She also allegedly wants to write a book about the true story of Theranos and believes her brand will rise from the ashes.
Former Theranos software engineer Michael Craig claimed he saw Holmes with her new beau at a at a restaurant in Sausalito, California over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
“She was dressed in a dark hoodie and jeans and didn’t look to have any makeup on or anything. She looked very young,” Craig said on "The Dropout" Podcast. “She seemed a little bit worn-down, but she didn’t seem like somebody who had done anything wrong.”
Jennifer Lawrence is reportedly set to star as Holmes in an upcoming adaptation of Carreyrou's book "Bad Blood," according to The New York Times.
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