What Took So Long?

2 years after the Theranos was revealed to be a fraud, prosecutors have finally gotten around to charging Theranos executives with fraud.

Is Elizabeth Holmes had been a black woman kiting $500 in checks, she would have already been tried, convicted, and would be serving a decade long sentence:

Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of Theranos, the lab testing company that promised to revolutionize health care, and its former president, Ramesh Balwani, were indicted on Friday on charges of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars as well as deceiving hundreds of patients and doctors.

The criminal charges were the culmination of a rarity in Silicon Valley — federal prosecution of a technology start-up. This one boasted a board stacked with prominent political figures and investors, and a startling valuation of $9 billion just a few years ago. In the fabled universe of overnight billionaires and unicorns, companies with billion-dollar valuations, Ms. Holmes had catapulted herself and her company into the buzz-filled world of “disrupters” by pledging to upend the health industry and give consumers control over their own care.

Both Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud. Lawyers for Ms. Holmes could not be reached for comment, but a lawyer for Mr. Balwani said in a statement that his client was “innocent and looks forward to clearing his name at trial.”

The indictment was filed by the United States attorney’s office in San Francisco and came about three months after the Securities and Exchange Commission settled civil fraud charges against Ms. Holmes.

On Friday, Theranos also announced that Ms. Holmes, who founded Theranos in 2003 as a 19-year-old Stanford University dropout, stepped down as chief executive. She will be replaced by David Taylor, the company’s general counsel, according to a statement from the company, which did not respond to requests for additional comment.

The small picture here is a multi-billion dollar grift

The larger picture is that this is generally how business is done in Silicon Valley, only with software, where you can always claim that the next patch will take care of the problem.

Much of the whole “Unicorn” culture of Silicon Valley is indistinguishable from fraud.

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