President Biden was criticized for adding legitimacy to Theranos in 2015 after he toured the company’s Newark, California facility with its former CEO and called the building a “laboratory of the future” before he expressed optimism about the future of blood testing.
Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO, was convicted Monday of two counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud.
Jerry Dunleavy, a Justice Department reporter for the Washington Examiner, took to Twitter to accuse then-Vice President Biden of playing a “key role in legitimizing” Holmes.
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He wrote that the company essentially used Biden’s praise as a launching pad to promote itself. Biden said at the time that former-President Obama also shared his excitement “of a new healthcare paradigm focused on preventive care.”
“You can see what innovation is all about just walking through this facility,” Biden said at the time, according to CBS San Francisco. The report said Biden mentioned how the company aimed to bring down the cost of blood tests. He told the story about his son Beau’s brain cancer and said the part of Holmes’ pitch that excited him most “is the diagnostic capability of preventing early on cancers and cardiovascular problems.”
Holmes was convicted Monday of duping investors into believing Theranos had developed a revolutionary medical device that could detect diseases from a few drops of blood. The 37-year-old was acquitted on four counts of fraud and conspiracy that claimed she deceived patients who paid for Theranos blood tests, too.
She now faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, although legal experts say she is unlikely to receive the maximum sentence.
Of course, Biden was not the only influential person to be hoodwinked by the charismatic CEO. Dunleavy pointed out that Holmes, at her height of power, appeared at “multiple Clinton Foundation events” and had former top names in government on her board.
Holmes pleaded not guilty to all charges and took to the stand to defend herself during the trial, where she admitted to having regrets but denied defrauding anyone. She also placed blamed on her former boyfriend and ex-Theranos Chief Operating Officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani for allegedly misleading her about the effectiveness of Theranos’ technology, and she accused him of emotional and sexual abuse.
Balwani faces his own trial next year over his alleged role in defrauding the company’s stakeholders.
Dunleavy wrote that Theranos played up Biden’s praise that the company submitted its tests to the Food and Drug Administration. The former vice president said the move showed “confidence in what you’re doing.”
Fox Business’ Breck Dumas and the Associated Press contributed to this report