Elizabeth Anne Holmes was once a renowned biotech businesswoman found guilty of fraud. By funding the now-inoperative health tech company Theranos, she became the first woman to ever be a self-made billionaire. Her wealth peaked at $4.5 billion, but after committing a major crime, Elizabeth Holmes’ net worth dropped to zero in 2022.
Holmes was born in Washington, D.C., on February 3, 1984. Christian Rasmus Holmes IV, her father, was a vice chairman at Enron, an electricity firm that went bankrupt following an accountancy fraud case. Noel Anne, her mother, was a congressional committee staff member.
St. John’s School in Houston was where she attended high school. There, she started her first business selling C++ compilers to Chinese universities because she was interested in computer programming.
Holmes enrolled at Stanford University in 2002 to study chemical engineering and serve as a student researcher and lab assistant. She worked at the Genome Institute of Singapore after finishing her freshman year. She left college in 2004 to launch a startup.
Intending to democratize healthcare, Holmes launched Real-Time Cures in Palo Alto, California, in 2003. She rebranded the company to Theranos in 2003. She wanted to create technology that would only require small amounts of blood for testing.
Over the next three years, Elizabeth was credited with establishing the most renowned board of directors in American corporate history. She was also famous for speaking publicly in a baritone voice. A co-worker said this wasn’t her genuine voice, but this is never confirmed.
Until September 2013, when Theranos unveiled an agreement with Walgreens to establish in-store blood sample collection facilities, Elizabeth managed Theranos in stealth mode.
The Demise of Theranos
After receiving a tip from a medical professional who believed the Edison blood testing equipment of Theranos was questionable, John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal launched a secret, months-long investigation.
Carreyrou wrote a shocking article in October 2015 showing how the Edison device produced erroneous results. He exposed that the business had been doing much of its analysis using widely available devices produced by other firms.
Following an assessment, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a warning letter to Theranos in early 2016. Despite Holmes denying the allegations, she was prohibited from operating any blood-testing service for two years.
The SEC accused Holmes and Theranos’ former head, Ramesh Balwani, of defrauding investors by collecting more than $700 million while touting a fraudulent product in March 2018. But this was only the beginning.
Elizabeth was found guilty of four charges of scamming investors on January 3, 2022, including three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to conduct wire fraud.
She is held at liberty while awaiting punishment on a $500,000 bail. Her sentences would most certainly be served simultaneously, for a total of 20 years. The rise and fall of Theranos has an HBO documentary titled “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.” Also recently a new series called the “The Dropout” was released on Hulu on the 3rd of March with Amanda Seyfried portraying Holmes’ character.
Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was Holmes’ love interest. They met in 2002, but their relationship ended after more than a decade. Holmes reportedly married Billy Evans, the heir to Evans Hotels, in early 2019.