- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2018

The Justice Department announced an indictment Friday against former tech world wonder woman Elizabeth Holmes, saying her claims of having created a revolutionary blood test were a sham.

Also indicted was Ramesh Balwani, who along with Ms. Holmes ran the company that at one point was the darling of Silicon Valley, earning glowing write-ups in newspapers and magazines and soaring to a market value in the billions of dollars.

Ms. Holmes claimed she had hit upon a new way of doing a blood test that could produce a mountain of test data from essentially a pinprick of blood. That claim won backing of some of the country’s largest tech companies and biggest political names, and turned Ms. Holmes into a cult hero in the tech world, particularly as a woman at the head of a Silicon Valley company.

She was hailed as a “feminist icon” and the female version of Apple founder Steve Jobs, after she dropped out of Stanford to create her company, raising hundreds of millions of dollars even as she refused to divulge how her miracle test worked.

The company began to tumble after The Wall Street Journal poked holes in the testing, and Friday’s indictment is the latest blow.

The government says Ms. Holmes‘ blood testing method not only had reliability and accuracy problems, but was also slower and less capable than existing methods.

“CEO Elizabeth Holmes and COO Sunny Balwani not only defrauded investors, but also consumers who trusted and relied upon their allegedly-revolutionary blood-testing technology,” said acting U.S. Attorney Alex G. Tse, who won the indictment from a grand jury in the Northern District of California.

The indictment accuses Mr. Holmes and Mr. Balwani of defrauding investors with claims that they would generate $100 million in revenue in 2014 and $1 billion in 2015.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also lodged financial charges against Theranos.

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