U.S. files criminal charges against Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes, Ramesh Balwani
Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes and the blood-testing company’s former No. 2 executive, alleging that they defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and also defrauded doctors and patients.
External link to the indictment
The indictments of Holmes and Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’s former president and chief operating officer who was also Holmes’s boyfriend, are the culmination of a 2½-year investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco, sparked by articles in The Wall Street Journal that raised questions about the company’s technology and practices.
Before the charges were filed, Theranos announced that Holmes had stepped down as chief executive and that David Taylor, the company’s general counsel, has been appointed CEO and general counsel. Holmes will remain as founder and board chair, the company said.
Coming three months after civil fraud charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Holmes and Balwani, the criminal charges are a warning shot for Silicon Valley. As money has gushed into the Valley’s ecosystem in recent years, hundreds of private tech startups valued at more than $1 billion have sprouted, embracing a culture of disruption of incumbent industries and a cavalier attitude toward regulations.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com
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