Elizabeth Holmes Found Guilty in Billion Dollar Fraud Case. Will She Face Consequences?

Elizabeth Holmes Found Guilty in Billion Dollar Fraud Case. Will She Face Consequences

Back when Elizabeth Holmes was featured on the cover of Time magazine, her company Theranos was valued at around $9 billion. This week, Holmes was found guilty in four of eleven federal criminal fraud charges.

What led to the downfall of Holmes and her company? Was she a founder who made mistakes, or did she intentionally deceive investors and patients? And now that she has been found guilty, will she face any meaningful consequences?

The Theranos Scandal

In March 2004, when Holmes was just 19 years old, she launched her company, Theranos. Like a few other famous Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, she dropped out of prestigious school, leaving Sandford to build her business.

Theranos was promised to be a company that could offer a variety of medical testing through a small amount of blood work. The promise of the company had investors and partners interested. Holmes raised over $945 million. After a 2013 retail partnership announcement with Walgreens, the company was valued at around $9 billion.

On paper, Holmes was one of the richest women in the world. Then, reality hit.

In 2015, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that Theranos had not actually conducted the hundreds of blood tests it claimed to offer. Some of the tests were less accurate than presented, and other tests were conducted on devices from third-party blood testing companies.

This story started a series of issues that eventually led to civil charges in March 2018.

The First Round of Legal Trouble: Civil SEC Charges

In March 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced fraud charges against Holmes, the company Theranos, and Theranos COO and president, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

According to an SEC press release, Holmes and Balwani raised, “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.”

Holmes and Theranos did not admit to or deny the charges, but they settled with the SEC. Holmes was required to return millions of shares to the privately held company, pay a $500,000 fine, and not serve as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years, as reported by Reuters.

The civil charges were a blow to Holmes, but they weren’t as serious as the fraud charges that came just a few months later.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

The Second Round of Legal Trouble: Criminal Fraud Charges

In June 2018, Holmes and Balwani were indicted on federal wire fraud charges by the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California.

The charges alleged that Holmes and Balwani both knew the Theranos proprietary blood analyzer could only perform 12 of the 200 tests it said it could, yet they continued to make misleading claims to both investors and customers.

The criminal charges meant Holmes was now facing jail time.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case? 

Facing the Charges

It took almost three years for Holmes’s case to make it to trial. It began in August 2021, included 30 witness testimonies, and lasted 11 weeks. Holmes testified over seven days of the trial trying to show that she never intentionally defrauded investors or patients.

The jury was slow to decide Holmes’s fate. As we recently discussed in a blog relating to the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, jury deliberations can take time.

After 50 hours, the jury eventually found Holmes guilty on four of the eleven charges.

  • 4 Charges — Not Guilty: There were four not guilty verdicts related to three charges concerning defrauding patients and one charge of conspiracy to defraud patients.
  • 3 Charges — No Verdicts: There was no verdict on three charges related to defrauding patients. The judge expects to declare a mistrial on those charges, according to reports from CNN. The jury could not come to a unanimous decision on these charges.
  • 4 Charges — Guilty: Holmes was found guilty on three counts of wire fraud relating to investors and one count of conspiracy to defraud investors. Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 plus restitution for each count.

Facing the (Minimal) Consequences

Many people were hurt by the unscrupulous acts of Holmes and Balwani. Investors lost millions of dollars, but Holmes’s conviction does not resolve their loss. She was only found guilty on four of the eleven charges.

Even after losing billions of dollars for investors, Holmes may only spend a few years in prison.

According to estimates by prison consultants and legal experts, even though Holmes faces decades in prison, she may only serve as little as three years at a low-security prison facility.

Facing Criminal or Civil Charges? Talk to an Attorney Right Away.

Facing criminal or civil charges is a serious matter. Civil charges can lead to financial judgments and fines, and criminal charges can lead to probation, fines, and jail time. Both can uproot your life. If you find yourself facing either civil or criminal charges, it’s important to talk to an experienced attorney right away.

TJ Grimaldi is both a criminal defense attorney and civil attorney. If you are facing a legal case, he can help you create a plan to get the best possible outcome for your situation. Talk to him today by requesting your consultation or calling 813-226-1023 to schedule a time to talk directly with TJ.

Why Did Jury Deliberations in Ghislaine Maxwell’s Case Take So Long?

When a trial ends, people are eager for a conclusion. They want to hear the verdict as soon as possible. But sometimes, the verdict can take hours or even days. We saw an example of this in the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell.

On December 29, 2021, the jury in Maxwell’s case entered their sixth day of jury deliberations.

What’s going on during jury deliberations — and why can it take so long?

The Details of the Ghislaine Maxwell Case

Maxwell is the former girlfriend and longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein. She was on trial facing six federal counts which include: sex trafficking of a minor, enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and three related counts of conspiracy, as reported by CNN.

This trial was a high-stakes case. Not only was it a high-profile case, which can add pressure to the jury, but it could also lead to long-term jail time. If Maxwell was convicted on all six charges, she could face up to 70 years in prison.

It took the jury six days of deliberations to reach their verdict.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

What Happens in Jury Deliberations?

Jury deliberations begin after the closing arguments of a trial. The judge gives detailed instructions about the process to the jury and lays out the legal standards that must be met for the defendant to be found guilty. From there, the jury goes to a room alone to discuss their decision for the verdict.

In most states, a foreperson or presiding juror is assigned to the group. The foreperson is responsible for managing the process, making sure everyone on the jury gets to participate, and leading the discussion in an orderly fashion.

Often, the jury begins with an initial vote. Each person says if they are leaning toward guilty or not guilty on each count. This process gives the jury an idea of where they stand.

Next, the jury reviews the evidence and how it relates to the specifics of the law. They are looking to see if prosecutors successfully met the burden of proof in the case. The jury must be certain that the proof shows the defendant is guilty without reasonable doubt.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

How Does a Jury Deliberation End?

Even if the jury initially agrees on a verdict, they will typically go through the evidence and each count to confirm that their verdict is accurate.

If the jury is in disagreement, they must go through the evidence and each count together to come to an agreement on a verdict. In most states, for jury deliberations to end in a criminal case, there must be a unanimous agreement on each charge. Every juror must agree on the verdict for each charge.

Related: What to Ask During a Free Consultation with a Lawyer

What Holds Up Deliberations?

Jury deliberations can get held up when jurors can’t agree on a verdict or they have additional questions and concerns about the case.

During deliberations, the jury is permitted to ask for additional information, explanations, and documents and transcripts from the trial. They may also ask for more detailed legal instructions on how the deliberation process works. Any communication between the judge and the jury is shared with attorneys on both sides, and jury members are also not allowed to access outside information.

In Maxwell’s case, the jury asked for a legal definition of “enticement.” They also asked to review the testimony of four women who took the stand during the trial and transcripts from four other witnesses.

It appears that the jury was looking more closely at the evidence as they sought to find a verdict they could all agree on.

What If the Jury Can’t Agree?

If the jury can’t reach a decision in one day, they may be sequestered. In this case, they cannot go back to their homes as they may be influenced by the media or other people. The jury typically stays in a hotel so they cannot use the internet or talk about the case with people outside of the jury.

In Maxwell’s case, the jury was not sequestered. They were allowed to go home, and they were given extra days between deliberations due to the Christmas holiday.

If a jury cannot come to a unanimous decision, it is called a “hung jury.” There is a mistrial, and the case must be conducted again in front of a new jury. In the event of a hung jury, the government may decide not to retry the case, and the defendant can walk free.

On Tuesday, December 28, the jury sent a note to the judge saying, “Our deliberations are moving along, and we are making progress.” On Wednesday, December 29, the jury came forward with their decision.

Maxwell was found guilty on five of the six charges, and she now faces up to 65 years in prison.

Get Strong Counsel for a Criminal Trial

A criminal trial can be a stressful situation from the opening statement to the hours or days waiting for a verdict. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, make sure you have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side to lead you through the process and to the best possible outcome.

If you are in need of legal advice, contact the office of TJ Grimaldi today. Talk directly with TJ about your case. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today

Why Is the Jussie Smollett Case Just Now Making It to Trial?

It’s been almost three years since the public experienced emotional whiplash as it related to the case of Jussie Smollett. The public went from being disgusted by the alleged hate crime against Smollett to being confused and angry when they learned that Smollett may have planned the whole thing.

Three years later, the public has mostly moved on from the incident. But now, the story is back in the public eye as the case has finally made it to trial.

Why did the Smollett case take so long to get to trial, and what charges does Smollett face for his seemingly false accusations?

What Happened? The 2019 Inciting Incident

The public was horrified and outraged when Jussie Smollett shared what he claims to have happened to him on January 29, 2019.

Smollett claimed that around 2 am, he was approached by two men in masks while walking near his apartment in Chicago. He says the men hit him in the face, looped a rope around his neck, and poured bleach on him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

Many Americans were disgusted by the awful incident, which was being called a “hate crime.” But, it didn’t take long for people to question the details of the incident.

In the weeks following the incident, both public opinion and officials started to see that the details of Smollett’s story didn’t add up. The story took a major shift when two brothers, who were believed to be the men who attacked Smollett, were interrogated by police.

The brothers stated that Smollett had hired them and concocted the entire plan.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

The Current State of the Smollett Case

Smollett is now in court fighting against the claims that he planned the whole thing. He is currently facing six counts of disorderly conduct.

The counts are under a subsection of Illinois law that prohibits false reports to police. Disorderly conduct is a class four felony in Illinois, which is the least serious felony in Illinois. But felonies are still serious, and Smollett is facing prison time of up to three years.

Because Smollett has no prior record and no one was injured as a result of the incident, it is unlikely he will get jail time. Instead, it is more likely he will get probation, community service, or both.

Related: Misdemeanor vs Felony: What’s the Difference? 

What Are the Six Charges Against Smollett?

Smollett is facing six counts of disorderly conduct. They all stem from similar actions wherein Smollett made false claims to police. Each incident led to an individual charge, as reported by PBS News.

  • Count 1: On the day of the alleged attack, Smollett told police officer Muhammed Baig that he was a victim of a hate crime and that two attackers put a rope around his neck.
  • Count 2: At the same time, Smollett told Baig that he was a victim of battery and that attackers beat him and poured bleach on him.
  • Count 3: On the day of the alleged attack, Smollett told police officer Kimberly Murray that he was a victim of a hate crime and that two attackers put a rope around his neck.
  • Count 4: At the same time, Smollett told Kimberly Murray that he was a victim of battery and that attackers beat him and poured bleach on him.
  • Count 5: Later on the day of the attack, Smollett again told Murray that he was a victim of battery.
  • Count 6: On February 14, 2019, Smollett told police officer Robert Graves that he was the victim of an aggravated battery.

Each count refers to an incident when Smollett allegedly lied to police about what happened to him. He’s facing six counts — although at one time, he was facing 16 counts.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

What Happened to the Original 16 Charges Against Smollett?

In February 2019, Smollett was facing 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about the incident.

Those charges were dropped one month later when Cook County prosecutors decided to dismiss the charges after Smollett agreed to forfeit a $10,000 portion of his bond.

Not everyone was happy about this decision.

City officials ordered Smollett to pay $130,000 to cover the costs to investigate the incident. Smollett refused. Then in February 2020, special prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Dan K. Webb reopened the case. Smollett was then indicted on the six counts of disorderly conduct he now faces, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

This delay in charges against Smollett combined with courtroom delays due to COVID-19 are why Smollett is just now appearing in court for something that happened almost three years ago.

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

Bringing a Criminal Defense Case to Trial

Smollett refused to settle the case which is why it is now at trial. Smollett stands by his statement that he was a real victim. Now, he needs to prove it to the jury if he wants to avoid the potential jail time, probation, and community service.

If you are facing criminal charges, it’s important that you speak to a criminal defense attorney right away.

An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and help you devise a plan to lead to the best possible outcome for your situation. If you have been involved in a criminal matter, talk to attorney TJ Grimaldi today. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023.

 

 

Is Possession of Drugs a Felony in Florida?

tampa_marijuana_lawIf you’re caught with controlled substances in Florida, even if it is from the best pot shop in Anchorage, you could face felony charges. Florida allows the court to pursue simple drug possession charges as felonies. A felony carries significantly more weight than a misdemeanor, and in addition to greater penalties with regard to jail time and fines, you could also lose the ability to legally own a firearm and other rights that you enjoy without a felony on your record.

When Is Possession of Drugs a Felony?

Florida law allows almost any drug possession charge to be filed as a felony, depending on the type of drug and the quantity possessed. You may not face criminal charges if you have a valid prescription for medical marijuana, as long as you aren’t endangering anyone else, such as driving under the influence. Additionally, possession of a small amount of marijuana, even without a prescription, might result in misdemeanor charges instead of felony charges. However, if you’re a repeat offender, you could face charge enhancements. You can go to Fairfax law firm to get legal advice and help with your case.

If you’re caught by the police with drugs in your possession, contact Drug crimes attorneys in Manassas immediately. You must protect your rights and get legal counsel before you answer police officers’ questions or appear in court before a judge. For which, if you want to know when to hire a lawyer for criminal defense, you need to click on this link.  Saying the wrong thing could put your case in jeopardy.

How Are Drug Possession Charges Filed in Florida?

  • First-degree misdemeanor: If you’re found with 20 grams or less of marijuana, you might face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. The potential penalties include up to one year in jail. You will also have to pay court costs.
  • Third-degree felony: Possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine or meth, or many medications without a valid prescription, could lead to penalties of up to five years in prison in Florida. If arrested for criminal mischief one must talk to their legal expert and get the necessary help.
  • First-degree felony: Your charges can get elevated to first-degree felony if you’re found with excessive amounts of controlled substances, such as more than 25 pounds of marijuana or more than 28 grams of cocaine. Being caught with such large quantities of drugs is considered trafficking in controlled substances, regardless of whether or not there is any evidence you were buying or selling the drugs.  These charges carry potential MANDATORY sentences anywhere from 3 years up to 30 years in prison and $250,000 or more in fines. Have a look at the Hempstead criminal justice lawyer and why you need to hire them.

There are several potential defenses to drug possession charges in Florida. The prosecution must prove that you had control over the drugs and that you knew you possessed a controlled substance. Additionally, you might face lighter penalties if you’ve never been arrested before.

As soon as you know that you’ve been arrested on drug possession charges in Florida, contact McIntyre Thanasides at 844-511-4800. We’ll help you fight your criminal charges and guide you through the legal system so that your rights remain protected. The criminal defense attorney, R. Davis Younts, Esq. can help in case you are in trouble with the law.

 

Top 5 Things to Know When Getting Arrested (Infographic)

If you’re arrested for any crime, there are several things you need to know to protect yourself, as stated by  experts from a criminal defense law firm

Understand Your Rights

Though not necessarily required in every case, Police officers may at some point read you your rights prior to or upon arrest. Your rights include remaining silent, so exercise that right until you can speak to an attorney. As soon as a police officer reads the Miranda warning to you, be aware that anything you say can become part of the prosecution’s evidence in court.

Pay Attention to Evidence

In some cases, you might be able to give your criminal defense attorney from Kendal Law Group PC in Bloomfield Hills information that can help exonerate you. While the police search your property, pay careful attention to any evidence they collect. Let your attorney know about it as soon as you meet with him or her.

Plead Not Guilty

You might not have the chance to speak with a criminal defense attorney before you’re arraigned in criminal court. An arraignment gives you a chance to tell the court whether you plead guilty or not guilty. Never plead guilty at this time. Instead, plead not guilty and wait until you can consult a lawyer.

Even if you eventually plead guilty to the charges, an experienced attorney can negotiate a plea bargain that might result in a reduced sentence. They may also be able to identify legal defenses that can result in some or all of your charges being dismissed.  You’re always better served by waiting until you have legal counsel before you make any important decisions.

Do Not Trust Police Officers

While you should never lie to law enforcement, neither should you make any admissions that could get you in trouble. For instance, if the officer asks whether or not you’ve had anything to drink, you can simply decline to answer. Volunteering that you had “two beers” earlier in the evening could give the officer probable cause to proceed with further investigation. One can click here to find out more on getting legal help.

Remember that police officers can lie to you. They might tell you that they have evidence even if they don’t, hoping to trip you up and get you to admit to something criminal. Don’t allow yourself to engage in conversation. Simply ask whether or not you’re free to leave.

Remain Cooperative

Throughout the arrest process, remain completely cooperative. Do not struggle or argue with the police or give law enforcement any reason to add extra charges to your arrest.

Once you’re arrested, such as for a DUI offense, contact McIntyre Thanasides at 844-511-4800 to discuss your case and to obtain legal advice. Working with a criminal defense attorney can drastically improve your chances of winning in court or getting a lighter sentence, regardless of the reason for your arrest.

 

The 10 Days After a DUI arrest

should_I_Blow_if_i_get_pulled_overNobody wants to get arrested for a DUI, but when it happens, you need preparation and a strategy. In the 10 days after a DUI arrest, you might feel confused and scared, but you can do several things to make the process easier and less stressful. Contact the DWI Guys in Albany and get all the details.

Get a Lawyer

As soon as you’re able, hire a DUI lawyer to take your case. He or she can advise you on what to say and do as you navigate the legal process. Additionally, an experienced DUI attorney can prevent you from compromising your rights or the outcome of your case.

Prepare for Potential Consequences

The consequences of a DUI arrest can vary depending on the circumstances. Hence , avoiding a charge for DUI is one of the best ways to overcome drunk driving consequences.  For instance, arrestees might get lighter sentences for their first offenses, but if you already have a DUI in your background, you might face harsher penalties.

The typical consequences of a DUI include the following:

  • Fines: If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a DUI, you’ll have to pay fines to the state. The maximum fines depend on various aggravating factors being present such as prior DUI’s, high breath alcohol results, and causing injuries to others.
  • Jail time: Many DUI offenders must spend time in jail. After you’re arrested, you’ll likely stay in jail until you appear before the court. At that time, you might get released, or you might have to post bail.
  • License suspension: To discourage further incidents of drunk driving, most jurisdictions suspend the driver’s licenses of people who get DUIs. The duration of the suspension can vary, and The State of Florida allows under certain conditions for you to apply for a hardship license that allows you to drive only in certain circumstances, and sometimes with a device that can detect alcohol on your breath.

Administrative Consequences Before Conviction

Once you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, there are certain administrative consequences that can severely and adversely impact you EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF ANY CRIME BY A COURT OF LAW. You can get more info here. These administrative consequences include the suspension of your drivers’ license for a period of six (6) to twelve (12) months.  This suspension will take effect (10) days after your arrest, depending on the facts of your case.  While hardship licenses that permit you to drive for limited purposes can be obtained, there are certain time limitations and other hoops you will have to jump through to determine if you can obtain a hardship license.   If you don’t exercise your rights and take certain steps during this first ten (10) days, you will potentially lose certain rights that could keep your license from being suspended or will prolong the headache and hassle and extend the length of time it takes to get a hardship license.  An experienced DUI lawyer can help you navigate these requirements and assist you in minimizing the length of time of your suspension and how long it may take get a hardship license.

Create a Strategy

If you’re pleading not guilty to a DUI arrest, you’ll need compelling evidence to suggest that you were not intoxicated at the time of your arrest. Your lawyer can help you build a case.

Getting arrested for a DUI can be scary, but if you know what to expect, you can handle the situation with less anxiety. For help fighting your DUI case, call McIntyre Thanasides at 844-511-4800 to speak to an experienced DUI lawyer.

 

New Federal Guidelines issued to address distracted driving

pulled_over_for_texting_and_drivingDid you know that the average person drives more than 290 feet for every five seconds they look away from their phone according to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? Distracted driving is not limited to talking on a cell phone or sending a text message. Distracted driving is any activity that deters the vehicle’s operator from keeping their eyes and hands safely on the steering wheel at all times while the car is in motion or even paused at a red light. Activities that constitute as distracted driving include cell phone use, eating, applying makeup, brushing hair, and even changing the music in the vehicle.

If you have been injured because of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help you get the justice you deserve. Read more below about how distracted driving can impact a life.

The danger of distracted driving

The United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration (NHTSA) reported that approximately 424,000 people were injured in car crashes, and 3,154 killed because of distracted drivers in 2013. It is important to be a safe driver not only for the driver’s wellbeing, but also for the passengers and pedestrians outside of the vehicle. Lawmakers are targeting young people for texting and driving because drivers 20 years old and younger represent 23 percent of all fatal car crashes. They also represent 38 percent of drivers who cause car crashes because of their cell phone usage.

What happens if I get pulled over for texting and driving?

Distracted driving is a serious matter. It is a secondary offence in Florida to text while driving. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) 46 states prohibit texting and driving and 37 states prohibit all phone use while behind the wheel for teen drivers.

As of right now you cannot be pulled over solely for texting and driving. To be pulled over you have to commit another traffic law violation while also texting. Examples of offenses that may result in a ticket for texting include speeding or driving through a red light. Under current vehicle and traffic law, if you are caught texting and driving, no points will be added to your license. However, two points will be added with the first offence if the law was broken in a school zone. Similarly, if your texting results in a crash, six points will be added to your license.

If you or someone you know experienced a car crash involving a distracted driver, or if you have been ticketed or charged with an offense involving distracted driving, The McIntyre Law Firm is here to help you through the legal process. Call our experienced attorneys today at (844) 511-4800.

Arrive Alive, Florida campaign: What you need to know

Whenever a fatal crash occurs on one of our roads, somebody loses a son, daughter, brother, sister, spouse or friend. In an effort to keep Florida citizens safe on the road, the Florida Highway Patrol reinitiated the “Arrive Alive” campaign across the state.

Arrive Alive was originally introduced in 1970 when fatal car crashes were at a peak. The initiative helped plateau the number of deadly accidents until the past three years. Unfortunately, fatal crashes in Florida have recently been on an unexpected rise. Causes often include unclear signs or paint on the roads, cell phone distractions and DUI incidents.

Between 2014 and 2015, Florida faced a 17.7 percent increase of fatal car crashes. Major Joseph Franza, the commander of Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Troop C, which services Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter Counties, said at a news conference last month that he “would not stand for that,” reinitiating the Arrive Alive effort.

Rather than having FHP troops monitor roads that are quick and easy places to write tickets, Franza told attendees of the news conference that troops will patrol places where deadly crashes frequently occur. By targeting the specific locations of fatal crashes, necessary changes can be made to prevent them in the future. Sometimes these changes are as simple as a fresh paint job on road lines or adding additional, clear signage. Here is what happens after a DUI and what one can do to get the necessary help with such charges.

In every case, however, road safety starts with the drivers. Be cautious, attentive and responsible to keep yourself and others safe on the road so you can “Arrive Alive.”

If you or somebody you know has been involved in a personal injury case related to a car accident, you are not alone. At McIntyre Law Firm in Tampa, we have attorneys proficient in personal injury, especially regarding auto crashes and DUI cases.

If you or someone you know has been charged or arrested for any criminal traffic offense in the Tampa Bay Area, The McIntyre Law Firm in Tampa has experienced attorneys with decades of experience defending criminal defendants.

For a free consultation and evaluation of your case, call 844-511-4800 today.