CA - Elizabeth Holmes (Theranos) Wire Fraud

Discussion in 'Trials' started by Seattle1, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    @RickshawFan I know this is O/T for this thread, but since we're mostly just waiting for the trial --

    Here is a new portmanteau company name for you. I want to get your first impressions, and then afterwards I will tell what I know. (after your current rabbit holes are satisfied, of course!)

    Feel free to google them and add whatever you find to your assessment: "Verdosome"
     
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  2. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Great profile pertaining to Phyllis Gardner (the famous Stanford professor who said "BS"): The Stanford professor who rejected one of Elizabeth Holmes's early ideas explains what it was like to watch the rise and fall of Theranos

    Key sentences:
    "I was just barfing all over the place," Gardner said.

    "I just want her convicted," Gardner said. "All I want is to see her in orange jumpsuit with a black turtleneck accent."

    I'd love to spend a semester in this professor's class, so I could speak this fearlessly when everyone else has gone along with a con.
     
  3. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    I will undertake this task. I actually think this whole topic of brand connotation is right on point for this case. It matters for how the jury might respond, when the jury is not from the same demographic as white male venture capitalists. Their interpretations might be exactly opposite to what Holmes intended.

    I will give you my vibe on "Verdosome" before I look it up. I can tell you right off the bat, I'm creeped out.
     
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  4. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    @RickshawFan I can't wait to hear more!

    And just in case you were worried, I have no connection to this company other than some superficial knowledge of one of the players. You will not hurt my feelings if you give it all a thumbs down in as colorful language as you like!
     
  5. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Just so everyone is clear on my tack, what I'm after is the "effect of the brand name word". I'm not after the actual meaning, which can often be very obscure (which is kinda my point). Misinterpretations/misreadings/mishearings of the word are just as important as the right thing; they are where are brain goes when we aren't censoring.

    Here's an example that's not a brand name, but it may give you the idea about how people respond to names, and how this might be a factor in a jury's approach.

    Let me make CLEAR. This is not a political statement.
    The President-Elect has nominated a man called Tony Blinken for Secretary of State.
    His first name in Anthony. A for Anthony. On envelopes and other communications and documents, his name may be listed as A. Blinken.
    Say that a few times.
    All of a sudden you might get warm fuzzies about this man, or extremely patriotic, or put him in a long line of men destined to do great things. It has nothing to do with the person one way or another (I'd never even heard of him before this week); it has to do with his name and what it conveys. Where my head goes.
    It's possible his parents did this on purpose (his family were Holocaust victims?); never mind, they endowed their son with something very special.
     
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  6. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    The only thing I question about this focus is whether it distinguishes or identifies fakeness or fraud in any way.

    I mean, don't even well-meaning, non-fraudulent companies try to use the same "good first impressions /warm fuzzies / invest in us" strategies in choosing a name?

    As you or I have already mentioned: Apple, Google, MicroSoft, Yahoo

    also:

    AmTrak?

    FedEx?

    El Pollo Loco?

    Burger King?

    etc
    etc
     
  7. Niner

    Niner Long time Websleuther

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    @RickshawFan - Anthony Blinken's stepfather survived the Holocaust. Just FYI! :)
     
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  8. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    LMAO I never guessed you had ANY foreknowledge, even oblique! But I will take your message to heart. It will not be pretty. If it's a company intending to do business internationally, they've launched a cannon into their foot.
     
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  9. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Note: in many countries (UK is one), first names are not used in full on communications, e.g. envelopes; it would be routine to have Mr. Blinken's name read: A. Blinken.
     
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  10. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Where I'm going is not whether the brand name Theranos conveys fraud, but whether it conveys something, ANYTHING, which might prejudice, bias, or tilt a jury in a certain way.
    *******
    El Pollo Loco isn't around here, but it's a great name, IMO, because it's onomatopoeic: it sounds like chicken clucks.
    AmTrak is genius.
    So, too, FedEx and Kinko's.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
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  11. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    I thought so; I didn't have a citation at hand.
     
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  12. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Verdosome......
    1) Ugly, repellent word, especially the -some syllable, which I immediately go to pronouncing as in ohm not as in ummm. It might go that way for me because of the sound of verd using an American accent (it has a very harsh -r-). I would not be able to think kindly about a company using this brand name.
    2) It also means something complicated, since it has a bunch of syllables. It might even be intimidating.
    3) For Verd-, I go without question to "green", as in the French word vert, Spanish verde, or English verdant...I would be unable to change that association in my mind.
    4) The -some syllable could maybe go in the direction of "a few", with a brand name for "A Bunch o' Greens". This would be a pretentious brand name for Spinach. The pretentiousness would offend me.
    5) In the direction of the prefix -some, as in "full of", on the analogy of lonesome and troublesome. I have trouble going there because I'm fixated on the ohm pronunciation, not ummmm. Besides, "full of green" sounds like something you'd just puked up.
    6) To me, -some says "body", like Greek soma. We have this root in chromosome. Also, liposome, though I'm almost certain the company with the verdosome brand would not be excited with someone's brain heading in the direction of "green fat" (which is not an outlandish outcome, IMO, if you start to take words apart and stick weird combinations together, like EH did with her Therapy and Diagnosis).


    I am putting together my thoughts here, but my first take, before I started analyzing my thinking in 2-6, was: Verdosome is in the business of green worms. My -soma association goes to words like trypanosome.

    But, if this word was produced by a bunch of young geeks as some kind of inside, pseudo high falutin', joke, they might have been reading too much Edward Lear, as in: "Their heads were green, and their hands were blue, and they went to sea in a sieve....." (The Jumblies).
    I am open to this possibility.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
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  13. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    Super interesting!

    Your initial interpretations seem to mostly match their intended meaning, and yet they certainly did not intend for the perceived vibe to be so negative and offputting!

    I won't say more until you ask, to let you research.

    Except to note that the story I have found where they explain their name choice isn't on their website but in an interview. If you can't find it and want me to link to it, just say so.

    I will also say that I think the story they tell is what they want people to think now, but the original meaning may have been distinctly different.
     
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  14. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Is it an international company?
    The thing is, I'm bilingual UK/US, so if I go about it with an English accent, the effect might be different. For instance, Verd- wouldn't sound so harsh, and the effect might be more benign.

    IMO Verdosome is a terrible brand name. It can go in so many directions that won't redound positively on the company. It also just sounds nasty.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
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  15. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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  16. Auntie Cipation

    Auntie Cipation Context Matters.

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    @RickshawFan They are a very small and new (last 2-3 years) company located in Colorado, USA.

    I doubt they have any international customers although it's possible. I don't think that's their focus though.
     
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  17. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
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  18. Seattle1

    Seattle1 #LiveLikeLizzy

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    Keep Track Of The Theranos Scandal With This Detailed Timeline

    2003: Theranos is founded

    Elizabeth Holmes starts Theranos — a word that combines “therapy” and “diagnosis” — when she is just 19. Her idea is to revolutionize healthcare by making blood-testing procedures cheaper and more convenient. She drops out of Stanford the next year and begins building the company through the sales pitch that it could detect health problems with just a few drops of blood from a finger prick. From the onset, Holmes was able to secure high-profile investors including Henry Kissinger, Betsy DeVos, and Rupert Murdoch.

    2004: Theranos raises $6.9 million

    With this early funding, the company gains a $30 million valuation.

    2007: Company valuation hits nearly $200 million

    After three years of early-round fundraising, Theranos receives a company valuation of $197 million.

    2010: Theranos raises $45 million

    Theranos files a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission form that states it has raised $45 million by selling equity, options, warrants, and other security rights. At this point, Theranos is valued at $1 billion.

    2013: Theranos announces itself to the public

    Having kept a low profile during its first years in order to focus on research and fundraising, Theranos unveils a website and introduces its product to the world through press releases and media features.

    September 2013: Theranos announces Walgreens partnership

    The deal with Walgreens commercializes Theranos's tests and opens them up to the public. Prior to this, Theranos had been a research-and-development operation. After commercializing its tests in Walgreens, Theranos begins reaching consumers directly.

    2014: Theranos value exceeds $9 billion

    Theranos and its founder, Holmes, are regularly featured across high-profile media platforms, with stories in The New Yorker, Forbes, and more. However, there is rising scrutiny of Holmes’s technology, and her profile in The New Yorker calls her explanations of the procedure “comically vague.”

    Fortune announces that the company has raised $400 million in equity sales and is valued at over $9 billion. Thanks to her 50% stake, Holmes is now a multi-billionaire.

    2014: Elizabeth Holmes delivers a Ted Talk

    During Holmes' 2014 TED Talk, the young entrepreneur promised the world that her company, would make blood testing more accessible, affordable, and less painful.

    2015: Theranos is criticized by some in the medical community

    A piece in The Journal of the American Medical Association, penned by John P.A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc, criticizes Theranos for having operated in “stealth mode” for years without publishing research in peer-reviewed medical journals.

    The same year, Capital BlueCross, central Pennsylvania’s largest health insurer with over 700,000 consumers, selects Theranos as its lab and bloodwork provider. At this time, the company reaches a $10 billion valuation.

    July 2015: Theranos test approved by the FDA

    Theranos’s test for detecting herpes simplex virus 1 is approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). But by December, the test has come under scrutiny. This is the only Theranos test to be approved by the FDA.

    July 2015: Joe Biden visits Theranos facility

    Vice President Joe Biden toured Theranos saying afterward, “Talk about inspirational, this is inspirational.”

    October 15 & 16, 2015: The WSJ publishes a damning report on Theranos

    Things take a turn for Theranos after The Wall Street Journal publishes John Carreyrou’s in-depth exposé on the company. In the piece, Carreyrou interviews ex-employees who claim management is incompetent, has exaggerated the capability of the technology, and is deceiving the public.

    Later that day, Holmes appears on Mad Money in an attempt to do damage control in the face of rampant accusations. She claims the statements in the WSJ are false, that Theranos had supplied over 1,000 pages of documentation that disprove the allegations, and that she is disappointed to see that the piece has been published. Holmes says: "This is what happens when you work to change things. First, they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world."

    On October 16, one day after its initial bombshell, the WSJ releases a follow-up piece that reports Theranos has been forced to cease use of its unapproved nanotainer for all of its blood tests, except for one. The Wall Street Journal also stands by its reporting.

    October 27, 2015: The FDA releases a report from its Theranos investigation

    The FDA releases a partly redacted report from an ongoing investigation of Theranos equipment. Among other things, the report claims that Theranos had used an "uncleared medical device" whose design was "not validated under actual or simulated use conditions."

    November 2015: Potential Theranos-Safeway deal folds

    A $350 million deal with Safeway falls through, as reported by the WSJ. The partnership would have allowed Theranos to offer tests in more than 800 supermarkets. Though Safeway has spent money to build the clinics, the tests never begin.

    December 2015: The WSJ publishes another article on Theranos

    Carreyrou reports that Theranos has rigged tests to produce better results. The article also alleges company mismanagement.

    January 25, 2016: Theranos lab in Newark, CA, is found to be a threat to patient health

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pens a letter to Theranos after an inspection of its Newark, California, lab. The investigation, which took place in the fall of 2015, had found that the facility did not "comply with certificate requirements and performance standards" and caused "immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety."

    Theranos soon responds, claiming that the investigation had begun “months ago” and “does not reflect the current state of the lab.”

    January 28, 2016: Walgreens suspends tests at its Theranos Wellness Center

    In light of the CMS report, Walgreens announces it will stop tests at its Theranos Wellness Center inside of its Palo Alto store, also suspending its use of Theranos's lab in Newark “until all issues raised by CMS have been fully resolved.”

    April 2017: Theranos settles with CMS

    In a settlement with CMS, Theranos agrees to stay out of the blood-testing business for two years in exchange for reduced penalties from federal health authorities. The civil monetary penalty against the company is only $30,000, says Theranos.

    May 2017: Theranos settles with one of its largest investors

    The settlement with Partner Fund Management (PFM), one of the company’s largest investors, comes after PFM accuses them of securities fraud.

    March 2018: Theranos charged with massive fraud

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges Holmes and former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, accusing them of “raising more than $700 million from investors through an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance.”

    In the wake of this charge, Holmes is stripped of her control of the company, forced to return millions of shares to Theranos, and is barred from serving as an officer or director of any public company for ten years.

    June 2018: Holmes and Balwani indicted on eleven counts of fraud and conspiracy

    A federal grand jury indicts both Holmes and Balwani on two counts of conspiracy and nine counts of wire fraud, finding that the pair had "engaged in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors, and a separate scheme to defraud doctors and patients.”

    In the wake of the indictment, Holmes steps down as CEO, but remains on the company's board.

    September 5, 2018: Theranos shutters

    Unable to find a buyer, Theranos is forced to close, announcing it will pay its creditors with its remaining cash. The company announces its closing in an email to investors. Its remaining employees were laid off at the close of August, though CEO David Taylor and some support staff had remained on the payroll a few days longer. At this time, the Theranos website is shut down, and the WSJ reports that any equity investments in the company are worthless.

    January 2019: Justice Department is reviewing millions of pages of documents

    As per a January filing, the Justice Department is reviewing nearly 17 million pages of documents concerning the case. Based on what they find, more charges could potentially be brought against Holmes and Balwani, and potentially others involved.

    March 2019: HBO Releases Theranos Documentary 'The Inventor'

    After much hype, HBO released 'The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley,' which chronicles the rise and fall of Theranos.
     
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  19. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Thanks, @Seattle1 , that's a great compilation! Very helpful. This case is so big, the timeline can get murky.
     
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  20. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    The Dropout Podcast The Dropout Podcast - ABC Audio

    This has Preet Bharara comments on EH's defense position...very interesting. She should plead guilty. He thinks, if she loses, it will be 10-15 years behind bars.

    Question: Will Bulwani flip?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
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