The SEC has charged Theranos company founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes and former President Ramesh"Sunny Balwani with fraud. Getty
16 March, 2018, 00:14
SEC complaints also charged that Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani claimed that the startup's products were deployed by the US Department of Defense on the battlefield in Afghanistan and on medevac helicopters, and that the company would generate more than $100 million in revenue in 2014.
Ms Holmes and Mr Balwani also claimed that the company's products were deployed by the US Department of Defence on the battlefield in Afghanistan and that the company generated more than Dollars 100 million in revenue in 2014.
In 2014 when the company was in its heyday and pulling in money from Silicon Valley investors it claimed its blood-testing products had been deployed with USA troops in Afghanistan as well as on medevac helicopters. None of that was true, the SEC said. In truth, Theranos' technology was never deployed by the U.S. Department of Defense and generated a little more than $100,000 in revenue from operations in 2014.
This is despite the fact that the SEC states that Theranos: "made numerous false and misleading statements in investor presentations, product demonstrations, and media articles".
She came to the limelight in the year 2013 when she claimed that Theranos had developed a medical technology that could do what seemed impossible.
Beginning in 2010, Theranos and Holmes took aim at the retail clinical laboratory space even though - as the SEC alleges - the company's technology wasn't ready to conduct the wide array of tests Theranos promised it could. Those investor dollars inflated the value of the company to an estimated $9 billion and made Holmes, a Stanford University dropout, the world's youngest female billionaire (although her net worth is considerably less than that now by all accounts).
Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, said investors were entitled to complete truth and candour from companies and their executives.
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He also added that innovators who claim revolution should now on say the truth about what their technology can actually do, rather than be misguiding.
The company has less than $200 million at the end of 2016, according to a report by The Journal, which is less than 25% of the amount of cash it had initially raised from investors.
Cheung's complaint was referenced in her deposition from a separate lawsuit investors brought against Theranos previous year, which was settled for an undisclosed amount, despite the company's being "confident that we would have prevailed at trial", according to a May 2017 statement.
Holmes agreed to pay a fine of $500,000 to the SEC and has stepped down from her role as CEO. She must also return her 18.9 million remaining shares she obtained during the fraud and give up majority voting control of Theranos.
Holmes agreed to pay a Dollars 500,000 penalty, be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years, return the remaining 18.9 million shares that she obtained during the fraud, and relinquish her voting control of Theranos. Due to the company's liquidation preference, if Theranos is acquired or is otherwise liquidated, Holmes would not profit from her ownership until - assuming redemption of certain warrants - over $750 million is returned to defrauded investors and other preferred shareholders.
That story unraveled Wednesday as the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged a breathtaking scale of deception in the story Holmes and former company president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani told to investors.
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