Murder, Mayhem, & Miles

Elizabeth Holmes - Mistress of Scandal, Corruption, & Deception

November 21, 2022 Season 1 Episode 33
Murder, Mayhem, & Miles
Elizabeth Holmes - Mistress of Scandal, Corruption, & Deception
Show Notes Transcript

Hiya, friend,

Thank you for joining me for Running Scared with Coach Christine.

If you are a runner and a true crime enthusiast, you have found your corner of the internet, friend!

Elizabeth Holmes captured and captivated investors and politicians and was seen as a visionary who would revolutionize the medical world. Well, friend, if it sounds too good to be true, it's likely because it is.

This true crime case is the Runner's Digest of the con job that could have potentially caused inappropriate treatment, severe illnesses, and death. So don't get swayed into thinking that just because this is a "white collar" crime, it was victimless. Elizabeth had many victims, and how many we likely will never fully know.

Want to learn more? Check out ABC News podcast, The Dropout, or check out the HBO Documentary Film The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley   
if you are looking for the companion book, you can find Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, which was written by The Wall Street Journal, journalist, John Carreyrou that broke the story. This is also a quick reminder to support independent and investigative journalism as they act as important checks and balances to folks in places of great power. 

We will be using RPE found here >>

Today's workout is a 30-minute  Light Tempo Run is structured: 
5- minute warm-up
5-minute Conversation Pace (RPE 3-4)
4-minute Tempo or Sentence Pace (RPE 5-6)
1-minute walk 
5-minute Conversation Pace (RPE 3-4)
4-minute Tempo or Sentence Pace (RPE 5-6)
1-minute walk 

5-minute cool-down

Oh, and want to see what her handwritten daily affirmations, schedule, and food log looked like? Check it out here>>

This story will continue to be interesting because while she was sentenced to over 11 years in prison, I highly doubt she will be made to serve it out entirely. I doubt this is the last we hear of Elizabeth Holmes.

I'd love to hear feedback from you, or if you have a case/story you would like featured, please fill out this short form here >>.

And, if you haven't yet joined, please know that we have our corner of the internet of runners and walkers who love true crime here >>

If you have any questions about running or want to chat about True Crime, please email me at

Please consult a physician before starting any new exercise routine.

Thank you for joining!

Summary KW: Elizabeth Holmes, Edison

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Christine Hetzel:

Hello friends, welcome to running scared. I'm Coach Christine, I'm a level two RCA and a run, walk, run it certified coach. And if you enjoy true crime with a side of running or you're at least willing to get least up for a walk or getting a good workout session, then welcome you have found your corner of the internet. And we are likely going to be besties. We'll talk a lot a little bit more about that when we get into our actual case. So friends, let's not waste any of your precious time. Let's get you starting on a nice tall, walking warm up in three, two. And one. If you're catching this episode right here, right before the holidays, I want to wish you a very happy holiday season very happy Thanksgiving. I know that time is a very finite and precious. So we're going to take this a little bit shorter for our workout today, we're just going to get in 30 minutes. But if you need to tag in some other episodes, I have plenty in the library for you to hit on up and queue up after you're done here. Or I'll also be giving you a lot of suggestions on today's mistress of murder and mayhem on some other deep dives because we're going to do a runner's digest of this particular case. But before I get too further into that, let's talk about today's workout and how to make sure that you are tacking this warmup, so that you're nice, strong and ready for what's to come. So first and foremost, I know you're rolling through her nice and tall, you're staying relaxed, you're staying light, you're engaging your core. And because you are a true crime junkie, I know that if you're rolling through here outdoors, getting in your run or your walk, that you are definitely aware and mindful of your surroundings. And it's so important that someone that you love, no interest knows exactly where you're at, or at least what time to expect you back home. Now if you're rolling through here on a treadmill, make sure to bring that up to a 1% on the incline and make it a little bit more if you're feeling feisty or sassy. But that 1% helps to minimize the impact on your joints, also helps to mimic the outdoors. And I know this time of year, a lot of folks are definitely having to hit up and utilize those treadmills, it's okay my friends, we will see warmer days again, you'll be able to get outdoors. But for now, just be grateful that you have a treadmill at your disposal. Or if you're willing through hearing your elliptical, stepper, just make sure again that you're engaged your core, you're staying nice and tall and you're not hanging over that display or putting your body weight on any of those arm handles, we want to really be active in our workout. Today, once we're done here with this warm up, we're gonna go in to two segments friends, where we're just gonna go right on into a five minute conversation pace on that RPE scale rate of perceived effort. Conversation pays about a three or four one is an easy peasy scroll. A 10 is an all out sprint, we're gonna hang out in conversation pace, but if I was rolling, right there next to you, you could tell me all about what you think about this case in real time and not lose your breath. Then after those five minutes, we're going to pop on up for four minutes into a comfortably hard tempo pace. Again, we got things to do, we've got people to see we have turkeys or Topher keys to throw in the oven. So we can get time to waste, we're gonna go ahead and go into a comfortably hard tempo pace, that's about a five, six, maybe even a dash of seven. If you're feeling a little feisty here to get in that tempo work, then we'll have a 62nd recovery at the halfway point. We'll repeat that cycle. And then we'll end with a five minute walk on the other side. My friends, I have been riveted with this particular case since I saw a documentary quite some years ago. And it's about Elizabeth Holmes. Do you know who she is? I mean, I'm fascinated with her right she was applauded and seen as this visionary she was valued of, or her company was valuated at like$10 billion. She was given a ward she was asked to speak truly people thought that she was revolutionizing health care and making the world a better place until a whistleblower came along and sent that crashing all down. And since then, she's been in a lot of hot water. Well, we're gonna again, talk a little bit about her her history, a little bit about her company thoroughness, maybe even her second in command, who was also her lover, we're gonna dabble into just because I'm fascinated with her rigidity and her strict schedule that was admitted into evidence. And then we'll talk about how she played out in court, and on her sentencing it because it's kind of this is happening in real time still, so there's a little to be continued as we continue to learn. I'm also going to reference quite a few incredible documentaries that you can check out on her or another podcast. Absolutely amazing. If you want to check it out. It's called the drop out. Created by ABC News. Of course it's beautifully Well done and orchestrated and curated. And again, this is the reader's digest that podcast dives in much deeper for about six different episodes. Two of them are over 45 minutes long. And the rest are just kind of little updates as we continue to learn more about the rise and con of Elizabeth Holmes. So friends, are you ready? Because we're gonna take it into our first segment, pushing into five minutes A Conversation pace, and three, two, and one. Let's roll. So first, let's listen and learn if you're not familiar with Elizabeth Holmes bit about her past because it was described as her having a precocious childhood. Elizabeth Holmes was born February 3 1984 in Washington DC. Her father, Christian, Rasmus Holmes, the fourth was a vice president at Enron. You guys remember Enron, an energy company that later went bankrupt from an accounting fraud scandal. Kind of interesting that maybe the apple doesn't fall far from the fruit tree. Well, her mother Noel and worked as a congressional committee staffer. Christian leader held executive positions in government agencies such as US aid, the EPA and the US. TDA. Christian is also part of a Danish ancestry and her paternal great great, great grandfather was Charles Lewis Fleshman, a Hungarian immigrant who founded the Fleshman East company. The Holmes family was very proud of its east Empire history, according to a family friend. And they go on to say that her mother was in Georgia and has French Canadian ancestry on her father's side. Now, Elizabeth again, she had quite a precocious childhood. They have been known to say that she was fiercely competitive even in her young young age, that she demonstrated that she likely was going to do really well as she continued to get older, considering how she really attacked her studies. So we learned a little bit about her parents, let's learn about her. Now. The family moved when she was young, from DC to Houston. And when she was about seven, Elizabeth tried to invent her own time machine, she would fill up her entire notebooks with detailed hand written notes and engineering drawings. And at the age of nine, she told relatives that she wanted to be a billionaire when she grew up, dead face, she said that dead face they were like, okay, sure, you kind of hear a kid saying I'm going to be an astronaut when I grew up. But evidently, that's not how they felt when Elizabeth told them, they felt that she really did mean it actually went on to quote, she said it with utmost seriousness and determination. He also said that she, as I mentioned earlier, was intensely competitive. And they gave examples as to she would play Monopoly with her younger brothers and cousins, and she would insist on playing until the end. My attention span personally didn't let me play Monopoly until the end, but evidently, she was a fiercely intensely competitive, so she would play until she won every single house and hotel possible. But Miss Elizabeth, I'm sure it does not surprise you, that if she wasn't winning, well, she was a sore loser. And she would storm off and more than once, she would run directly through a screen door, if she was that angry because somebody hadn't let her win. All right, seeing a little bit of anger there, Miss Elizabeth, we see some handwriting on the wall, a little bit of red flags there. It was during high school that Elizabeth developed her incredible work ethic often staying up super late to study She quickly became a straight A student and even started her own business in high school. She sold C Plus Plus compilers, which is a type of software that translates computer code to Chinese schools. Okay, I'm impressed. I'm impressed in high school. I was just trying to keep up with like, do I park my hair from left to right or apart my hair right to left. And here she is with a company selling to Chinese schools. I mean, I gotta say I'm impressed. Elizabeth started taking Mandarin lessons. And partway through high school she talked her way into being accepted by Stanford University's summer program, which culminated in a trip to Beijing. Now, a lot of this information has been found from a documentary called Bad Blood secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup and a book by the same name as well. Fascinating. I'm telling you. Elizabeth went on to say that she was inspired by her grandfather, Christian Holmes now not that not the great great, great, great, great grandfather who had the East company but her great great grandfather, Christian Holmes, he was a surgeon. And Elizabeth said she wanted to go into medicine. But she discovered early on that she was terrified of needles. She used this as kind of her origin story as to why she was so influenced and inspired to start her company thoroughness later, later down the road. So we'll learn a little bit more about that too. It was then went on to Stanford to study chemical engineering. When she was a freshman, she became a president's scholar, which is an honor, which came with a $3,000 stipend to go toward a research project. Let's take it into that tempo place in three to one. Now friends, this is where you're pushing it up a notch going to that five or six, this is comfortably hard, and we go from conversation pace to sentence pace, meaning that you could probably get out a sentence or two, you could sing along to a lyric, or a verse of a song, but you're not going to be very comfortable and having that conversation going back and forth. So focus on your breathing again, engaging your core in your posture. And if you're on one of the stair steppers or ellipticals, you could always play with different options. If you didn't want to change your pace, you could change more of the resistance, or you could also change the incline. Alright, friends, let's keep learning about Miss Elizabeth. Now, I will tell you, if you see photos of Elizabeth or if you've seen these documentaries, you will see that she was a striking young woman She was tall and sleek, and she had blonde hair and these just very icy determined eyes, I see blue. She was very, very, very much somebody that you would see as potentially having great determination to have success. So it kind of went hand in hand with the persona that she was trying to create for herself, as she idolized Steve Jobs quite a bit even took on his kind of typical uniform. But before that, Elizabeth spent the summer after her freshman year in Stanford, and she went to intern at the Genome Institute in Singapore. She got the job partly because she did speak Mandarin. And as a sophomore at Stanford, Elizabeth went on to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said, You know what, buddy, I'm thinking we should start a company like I had a company in high school, and it went off, and it was poppin. But now that I'm like, working on this new thing, and I'm trying to get into the medical field, I think we should start a company. And I think it's going to revolutionize medical businesses, how we diagnose people, and it's really going to just make it more democratic in the hands of the actual patient. And he's like, Yeah, I feel Yeah, let's let's go ahead and do that. So with his blessing, she founded real time cures. Now why this makes me giggle is because we went on to learn that because there was a typo. If you were an employee of real time cures in its early days, your paycheck actually said rather prophetically, it was accidentally typed in real time, curses. Oh, my goodness. Well, Elizabeth soon filed a patent application for a medical device for analytical monitoring. In drug delivery. It's a wearable device that would administer medication, and monitor patient's blood and adjust the dosage as needed. Now, as again, as someone who has a loved one who has certain medical issues. This sounds like a dream. If I knew that I had something that my father could potentially just wear on his body on his skin, that wouldn't create a lot of pain that was very easy for him to keep clean and adjust, and it would just adjust things as needed. This sounds like truly too good to be true. Well, we'll learn a little bit more about that soon, too. Now, by the next semester, Elizabeth had dropped out of Stanford all together because she went on to work on thoroughness Theranos, which was previously real time curses, or cures in the basement of her college house. Elizabeth's business model was based on the idea that it could run blood tests using proprietary technology that required only a finger pinprick in a very, very small amount of blood. Now, while that's revolutionary while it's proprietary is because it was extreme, the diagnostic tests that she said that you could actually find that could do this, it would range and test anything from cancer to high cholesterol, stuff that previously would require tubes and tubes worth of blood analysis for you to actually take into a lab. And it being done in real time took so much pressure off of any kind of issues of patient, finding transportation or taking time off from work. We're gonna learn more, but let's first pull it back into a walk in three, two, and one phenomenal job, my friend. Catch your breath. We're at the halfway point. We're gonna learn A little bit more about the rhinos and how it came to be this incredible organization. And then like all good, true crime stories, we'll learn about its fall. But here, go ahead and catch your breath. Elizabeth started raising money for the rhinos, from prominent investors like Oracle founder, Larry Ellison. I mean, she got some big names up in here. Tim Draper, the father of a childhood friend in the founder of a prominent venture capitalist firm, Draper, Fisher Jurvetson. was able to raise over one $700 million. Through all of her charisma and steely I see determination, Elizabeth took investors money on the condition that she wouldn't have to reveal how Toronto's technology worked. Plus, she would have final say over everything having to do with the company. Let's take it into our next half right here, five minutes and three, two, and one. Now that's another part that absolutely floors me because in most venture capitalists type firms, they require you to really put the proof of the pudding for them to see and analyze before they just turn over their wallets. But she just had she had some charisma. She also had some strange practices, she started to change her voice, she started to write herself some copious notes. She also started to have a secret relationship with her second in command. But we'll learn more about that here in just a moment. She also had an obsession with secrecy outside of this little, little love triangle. She wanted this secrecy not to just be what her actual model was how she got this technology that was supposedly so revolutionary. She was secretive about her eating habits, her daily schedule, she went on to boast about how the building that she was at had bulletproof windows. Everything about her was shrouded and complete 100% secrecy and behind safe closed doors. She would even go on to like rabidly defend her quote unquote trade secrets by taking any employee to court if they started to question that some of these things didn't quite add up. So that could be kind of partly how it got got through. Elizabeth was influenced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. As I mentioned, she liked to dress in his uniform, she would dress in his black turtlenecks, not actually his like she didn't go to his closet. But she modeled herself from him and would wear very similar clothing to decorate her office with his favorite furniture. And just like Steve Jobs, she never ever took vacations. Again, she changed her voice, she crafted it to be a lot deeper if you start to really go through some of the animals. I'm so impressed with myself using a fancy word like that. But if you go through some of the old YouTube videos, basically what that means, you'll hear that she had a very typical, what would be associated with more of a very young females voice. It was a bit of a higher pitch. It maybe even had a little bit of a tilt. But she changed it to where it was deeper, she wouldn't to be seen as very stoic and very studious, and she felt it was important to craft her image. So that would best help her in this male dominated business world. Now, what was interesting is that if she had a little bit too much to drink, she would often go back to speaking in her normal voice, but she was very cautious about not letting people catch her in that. There's actually even some fascinating notes as that she would write herself she would write a handwritten daily schedule every single day, starting at 4am. She would even talk about rising, being thankful to God. Then she'd give herself a little affirmation. She talked about washing her face changing her workouts, she would schedule her workouts to the minute she would schedule in her prayer time, her food time what she consumed her drive into work, what she would have for lunch or dinner. And then she would go through a array again of this affirmations which is very interesting. Very, very interesting to say the least. I'm just going to mention a few here. I show no excitement. I am calm, direct, pointed, non emotional. I do not react. I am always proactive. I do not hesitate. I give immediate feedback, but not emotionally. I speak rarely, but when I do, it's crisp and concise. And this one may be the most interesting of all I call bullshit immediately. That's her words. That's her affirmations friends just saying. Anyway, as we continue to Learn a little bit, hear about her affirmations and then go on as to maybe some of that facade that she broke into. Folks went on to say that she was an incredibly demanding boss. I'm not surprised. It was probably because she was hungry because I looked at her food log friends and I'm telling you, she did not eat that much. But she was a demanding boss and she wanted her employees to work as hard as she did. And she had her systems track when employees arrived and left each day. That sounds a little kooky. But okay. And to encourage people to work longer hours, she started having dinner and catered to the office around 8pm each night. Now, there's tons of behind the scenes footage that you can check out because there's over 100 hours of footage. And it's an HBO documentary that I mentioned and the inventor out for blood in Silicon Valley. And highlighted also her relationship that she had with the CEO of her company, Sunny balwani. He was 20 years her senior. And as I mentioned, he was her lover, they had met when she had gone and studied for the Mandarin program the summer before she went to college. And she was at that time maybe seen as someone he could rescue. When they started the relationship, she decided that she needed to him around, she made him her number two, despite him not having very much experience in this medical world at all. He was a software developer. And then she went on to start to really get the rhinos up and poppin into the company that we knew it to be. Let's go back into our four minute segment friends in three, two, and one, let's make it happen. And then let's learn how it all started to fall apart. Well, after she had this incredible, huge expansion, something started to come arise. People were finding out that the tests didn't seem absolutely accurate. And the Wall Street Journal broke a story after it went into a secret month long, deep investigation of Toronto's journalist John Carew had received a tip from a medical expert who thought that the rawness is Edison blood testing that was a proprietary blood testing formula they use seemed rather suspicious Karoo spoke to ex employee whistleblowers and whistleblowers and obtained company documents. When Elizabeth learned of the investigation she initiated a campaign through her lawyer David Boies, is to stop carry you from publishing, which included legal and financial threats against both the journal and the whistleblowers. Going to take a second here and plug how much I love our independent journalists. Because without them, we wouldn't hear about all of these horrible things, and people need those checks and balances. But anyway, I digress. And October 2015. Despite her legal threats and strong arm tactics, the Wall Street Journal published the bomb shell article detailing how the Edison device gave in accurate results. Now, if you're thinking to yourself, Well, what does that really mean and accurate results? My friends, it was drastically misreporting from cholesterol like from hundreds of points off to blood sugar, it was telling some people that they potentially didn't have cancer when they did or that they did have cancer when they didn't. These are things where these diagnostic tests really influenced the individual's health care if influenced how they were able to live their life, in a lot of situations, it could have potentially caused them to get radically ill or even die. She went on to say that she was being persecuted because she was a revolutionary. She said out loud, that the article was pretty liberal. And she responded, 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. Now at this point, she still has a lot of investors who think that she's the bee's knees. But in January 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a warning letter to Theranos, after an inspection of its Newark, California laboratory uncovered irregularities with staff proficiency procedures and equipment. CMS regulators proposed a two year ban on Elizabeth from owning or operating any certified clinical laboratories. Actually company had not fix a problem and it's California lab in March 2016. On the Today Show, homeless went on to say because you know, she was a media darling. She went on to say we're devastated. We didn't catch and fix these issues faster. Yeah. And the lab would be rebuilt with help from new scientific and medical advisory board, and then in July 2010 tene CMS went on to officially banned her for the full two years and 2017 the state of Arizona filed suit against Serrano's alleging that the company has sold 1.5 million blood tests to Arizonans while concealing, and misrepresenting important facts about those tests. Now, friends, you've heard me You know, I love me some lady killers, you know, allow me some serial killers. And that's usually the kind of cases that I bring to the table, but wrap your head around that 1.5 million blood tests that actually could have proven to be inconclusive or incorrect. The mass totals of people that she could have potentially caused the death of, or that she could have caused severe illness, or severe malpractice the doctors lives which she could have also impacted, as they may have done an accurate diagnosis and treatment. This woman, she is a mistress of murder and mayhem. It may not be all scantily clad. She may not make you shaking your boots, but she is not a good woman. All right, my friends. Let's pull it on back into our cooldown walk and three, two and one great work. So at its height in 2015, the rhinos had more than 800 employees. It dismissed 340 People in October 2016 and an additional 155 employees in January 2017 and April 2018. I mean, when the ball starts crashing down, it just keeps getting bigger and better here. Toronto's filed a Warren Act notice with the state of California announcing its plans to permanently off 105 employees leaving it with fewer than two dozen employees. Most of the remaining employees were laid off of August 2018. And on September 5 2018, the company NASA had begun the process of formally dissolving was remaining cash and assets to be distributed to its creditors. And on June 15 2018, following an investigation by the US Attorney's office in San Francisco that lasted more than two years, a federal grand jury indicted Elizabeth and her ex lover, Toronto's chief operating officer present Ramesh Sunny balwani on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. most fascinating how they bring people down, you would think that it has to do with the fact that she actually hurt innocent people who trusted in her but no, they get her on wire fraud. Of course they pled not guilty. Prosecutors allege that Elizabeth and Bhawani engaged in two criminal schemes one to defraud investors, the other to defraud doctors and patients. And let's not forget friends. She also defrauded insurance companies that paid for these tests. So we are talking about some pretty big some pretty big money that she got herself into. After the indictment was issued. Elizabeth stepped down as CEO of Toronto's but remained chair of the board. Elizabeth was tried in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. And she retained it defense lawyers from Williams and Connolly, a prominent American law firm that specializes in white collar crime defense. The trial began on August 31 2021, after being delayed for over a year due to the COVID 19 pandemic. And because she was pregnant, because she also got fell madly in love and got married, but not what's funny, my friends, actually Quite on the contrary, she ended up in a relationship with a hospitality err. And she, surprise surprise, got secretly married to this individual. Well, friends, we continue learning that just as of this past week, she although she was facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, although she is pregnant with her second child, she was actually convicted and sentenced to 11 years for fraud. She was devastated. Of course, she cried when she read a statement to the judge. And she went on to say I am devastated by my feelings. I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them. Now, what's next for her? We will soon find out because again, she is pregnant. I'm not sure if they're gonna give her if they're gonna let her hold off from serving out her term until she gives birth. But we will soon see and in the meantime, we're going to take away a few lessons learned here, my friends you did a phenomenal job. So pat yourself on the back. And think about it. If you ever make a mistake at work, or I don't know, you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning, anything that you do, can't be possibly not even a modicum, not even a pinprick, as bad as what this chick did, and pretty much got away with for a very, very, very long time. So our lessons learned is that if the child has such a big temper tantrum, when they don't win monopoly, that they run through the screen and break it every single time, you need to put that child on a watch list. I'm just saying, because you don't know what it's gonna turn out to. And the next thing to learn is just be authentically yourself and not worry about trying to become a billionaire. Instead, just focusing on doing good friends. Thank you so much for participating in today's workout. I would love to hear from you. What do you think about Elizabeth Are you as riveted as I am? Have you seen the documentaries? There's so many of them to watch and if you are interested and want to chitchat, a little bit about Miss Elizabeth Holmes, go find me or run the Facebook community page running scared. I'll link that in episode notes. Thank you again and friends. Have a wonderful wonderful week as hope that you are you able to spend time with loved ones and thank you for running scared with Coach Christine