Billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos Inc., has left, and Christian Holmes arrives for a state dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama and US First Lady Michelle Obama in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House in Washington, DC , USA, on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Andrew Harer Bloomberg | Getty Images
Prosecutors paint a picture of what the public has seen: a billionaire entrepreneur wearing designer labels with his black turtlenecks while rubbing his shoulders with world leaders.
But like the mirror hall of the carnival, according to the government, it was all just an illusion.
Elizabeth Holmes intended to use Theranos “as a tool to improve her personal situation,”
“The causal link between the fraud of the accused and the benefits in question is strong,” the government said.
Holmes and its chief operating officer, Ramesh “Sunny” Balvani, each face a dozen charges of criminal wire fraud. If convicted, they could spend up to 20 years in prison.
As CEO of Theranos, prosecutors said Holmes led an extravagant lifestyle that included “traveling on private jets, staying in luxury hotels and accessing a variety of assistants.”
“Although the defendant’s assistant was an employee of the company, it dealt with a number of non-financial tasks for the defendant, including personal clothing and jewelry, home decoration, purchasing food and groceries and other items,” the government said in a statement.
The government’s proposal was in response to Holmes ‘lawyers’ efforts to block the jury from hearing details of how the plane was set up.
The government intends to show evidence that the alleged fraud in Theranos is directly related to the money and fame that Holmes gained as CEO of Theranos.
Prosecutors wrote that Holmes was “admired by the local and national business community and appeared in numerous publications and on television.” She connects with influential people, including politicians and business leaders. Evidence during the trial will show that these advantages were important for the defendant, who followed the daily news closely to cultivate his image. “
Holmes was a Silicon Valley pet that attracted more than $ 700 million in investment.
“In addition to the tangible benefits it has received from its fraud, it has also benefited from very favorable attention from the media, business leaders and high-ranking officials,” prosecutors wrote.
The proposal comes the same night that Holmes’ lawyers say its failed company was no different from any other Silicon Valley startup trying to make a name for itself.
The government “wants an order that prevents the defense from” focusing on the culture of Silicon Valley startups, arguing that founders in the field often use exaggeration and dramatic promises to generate the necessary attention from their companies and raise capital. ” , the court declaration from Holmes said lawyers.
Her lawyers say evidence of Silicon Valley start-up culture may be relevant to the case: “For example, the government intends to provide evidence of certain practices that the government claims have created a culture of ‘secrecy.’ in Terranos, ostensibly to show that Mrs. Holmes was covering up an alleged fraud. “
“Although Ms. Holmes has tried to rule out similar evidence, if admitted, Ms. Holmes could certainly provide evidence that other Silicon Valley start-ups have used similar practices and that the people of Theranos were aware of these practices. “
Holmes will face his fate in July. In her appearances on Zoom, she sometimes looked sullen – a stark contrast to the image she once projected on the world.