by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Then-Vice President Joe Biden played a key role in helping further the billion-dollar con job perpetrated by Elizabeth Holmes, lavishing the disgraced Theranos founder with praise in 2015.
Holmes, whose company falsely claimed to be able to conduct wide-ranging and revolutionary life-saving tests using only tiny drops of blood, was found guilty on Monday on one federal charge of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud. She faces up to 20 years in prison per count.
Holmes, now 37, and her longtime business partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani were indicted in June 2018 for two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. The jury for Holmes did not reach a verdict on three of the wire fraud charges and found her not guilty of a conspiracy to defraud patients and not guilty on three of the other wire fraud charges. Another count against Holmes was dropped.
Balwani’s trial is scheduled to begin later this month.
Theranos touted Biden’s July 23, 2015 visit to its headquarters in a lengthy press release, calling it “A New Era of Preventive Health Care” summit. Both the company and Biden repeatedly posted on Twitter about the event.
“Talk about being inspired,” Biden said at the time, though he turned down the chance to have his blood drawn. “This is inspiration. It is amazing to me, Elizabeth, what you’ve been able to do.”
Biden praised Theranos for “charging historically low prices” and making its supposedly game-changing diagnostic tools available to all.
An audio recording showed Holmes returning the flattery.
“It is an absolute privilege and a tremendous honor to have Vice President Biden here with us,” Holmes said in her opening remarks. “He is someone I so deeply respect and am so inspired by the context of his service to our country and the bold actions he has taken in service to our country throughout his career.”