Public domain/Glenn Fawcett/Wikimedia Creative Commons
Elizabeth Holmes in 2013.
Don't ever let anyone tell you rich people are rich because they're necessarily smarter and more hardworking than you. Because if there's anything that the high-profile trial of disgraced Silicon Valley figure Elizabeth Holmes has shown, it's that plenty of members of the 1% seem to be not all that great with their money — they just have too much of it.
Holmes is on trial for wire fraud as part of her failed company Theranos, which presented itself as a Silicon Valley unicorn that promised to revolutionize medicine with a new technology that could perform a multitude of medical tests using just a drop of blood. Thanks to easy venture capital, Holmes became the world's youngest female billionaire, but it was later revealed that the technology never actually existed
. Now, Holmes is either a cunning girlboss fraudster or a naive smol bean
, depending on whether you believe the plaintiff or defense.
Among those allegedly defrauded by Holmes is the family of former Trump-era Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of Michigan, whose family is worth some $2 billion, according to Forbes
According to DeVos money manager Lisa Peterson, the Devos family agreed to give Holmes $100 million after a five-hour meeting with Holmes and company president Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani at the Theranos HQ, The Daily Beast
Apparently, the DeVos clan was so impressed by the promises Holmes and co. made that they "never hired regulatory experts, counsel, or medical experts in the due diligence process, b/c 'we didn't think we needed it,'" according to Law360 reporter Dorothy Atkins
, who is covering the trial.
It sounds like we do more due diligence when splurging on a $100 appliance!
The DeVoses made much of their money from the multi-level marketing company Amway, which was co-founded by the father of Betsy DeVos's husband, Dick. They also own the Orlando Magic, and own at least ten yachts.
Other Theranos investors include media mogul Rupert Murdoch and retail chain Walgreens, and its board of directors that included former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, retired four-star general Jim Mattis, and former Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich, among others.
Oh, and Holmes's father was a vice president at Enron, the company that went bankrupt over a fraud scandal. He later held a number of executive roles in the U.S. government.
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