Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of American start-up Theranos that promised to revolutionize blood testing, has agreed to settle charges that she raised over $700 million fraudulently.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos deceived investors about the company’s technology.
The financial regulator also said the company had falsely claimed its products had been used by the US army in Afghanistan.
Elizabeth Holmes will lose control of the company and be fined $500,000.
An SEC official called the fallout an “important lesson for Silicon Valley”.
Jina Choi, director of the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, said: “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today – not just what they hope it might do someday.”
The company was founded in 2003 when Elizabeth Holmes was only 19, and sought to develop an innovative blood testing device.
Theranos said its Edison device could test for conditions such as cancer and cholesterol with only a few drops of blood from a finger-prick, rather than taking vials from a vein.
In 2015, Forbes magazine estimated Elizabeth Holmes’ wealth at $4.5 billion.
However, in the same year reports in the Wall Street Journal suggested the devices were flawed and inaccurate.
By 2016 Forbes magazine had revised its estimates of Elizabeth Holmes’ fortune to “nothing”.
The charges were brought against the company and its former president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani as well as Elizabeth Holmes.
The SEC plans to bring a case against Sunny Balwani.
The agency alleged that Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani made a series of false and misleading statements in investor presentations, product demonstrations and interviews, saying: “Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani claimed that Theranos’ products were deployed by the US Department of Defence on the battlefield in Afghanistan and on medevac helicopters and that the company would generate more than $100m in revenue in 2014.
“In truth, Theranos’ technology was never deployed by the US Department of Defense and generated a little more than $100,000 in revenue from operations in 2014…
“In truth, according to the SEC’s complaint, Theranos’ proprietary analyzer could complete only a small number of tests, and the company conducted the vast majority of patient tests on modified and industry-standard commercial analyzers manufactured by others.”
According to German prosecutors, former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn may have known the automaker was cheating on emissions tests earlier than he admitted.
He quit in September 2015 after VW admitted to using software to lower the emissions from its diesel vehicles during tests.
Martin Winterkorn has since denied knowing of the violations until late in August 2015, shortly before the board reported them.
However, German authorities said they were now investigating Martin Winterkorn for fraud.
Braunschweig prosecutors said they had searched 28 homes and offices this week in connection with the scandal.
As a result, the number of people accused of misconduct had risen from 21 to 37, including Martin Winterkorn.
German prosecutors said in a statement: “Sufficient indications have resulted from the investigation, particularly the questioning of witnesses and suspects as well as the analysis of seized data, that the accused [Martin Winterkorn] may have known about the manipulating software and its effects sooner than he has said publicly.”
Earlier this month, VW admitted to US prosecutors that about 40 employees had deleted thousands of documents in an effort to hide systematic emissions cheating from regulators.
VW was also fined $4.3 billion by US authorities and agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges.
In addition, VW has agreed to a $15 billion civil settlement with environmental authorities and car owners in the US.
The company is also facing 8.8 billion euros ($9.41 billion) in damage claims following the collapse of VW’s share price after the scandal broke.
VW shares slumped by a third in the immediate aftermath of the scandal and are still 7% below their September 2015 level.
Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been arrested as part of a huge fraud inquiry into the state oil company Petrobras.
His house was raided by federal police agents and he was brought in for questioning.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who left office in 2011, has denied allegations of corruption.
The long-running inquiry, known as Operation Car Wash, is probing accusations of corruption and money laundering at Petrobras.
Dozens of Brazilian executives and politicians have been arrested or are under investigation on suspicion of overcharging contracts with Petrobras and using part of the money to pay for bribes and electoral campaigns.
Police said they had evidence that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, 70, received illicit benefits from the kickback scheme.
His institute said in a statement the “violence” against the former president was “arbitrary, illegal and unjustifiable”, as he had been co-operating with the investigations.
Officials said some 33 search warrants and 11 detention warrants were being carried out by 200 federal police agents in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Bahia.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s house in Sao Bernardo do Campo, near Sao Paulo, was raided early on Friday. The headquarters of his institute in Sao Paulo was also targeted, as were his wife, Marisa, and sons, reports said.
One of the lines of inquiry is that construction companies targeted by the operation could have favored Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the development of a ranch and a luxury beachfront apartment.
Raids in the cities where these properties are located have also been carried out.
“Ex-president Lula, besides being party leader, was the one ultimately responsible for the decision on who would be the directors at Petrobras and was one of the main beneficiaries of these crimes,” a police statement quoted by Reuters news agency said.
“There is evidence that the crimes enriched him and financed electoral campaigns and the treasury of his political group.”
Supporters and opponents of the former president clashed in front of his house following the raids.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, from the Workers’ Party, served two terms as president and was succeeded in office by his political protégé, Dilma Rousseff.
He led Brazil during a time of rapid economic growth and is credited for lifting millions of people out of poverty.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva still is a well-liked figure and has been considered as a potential candidate in presidential elections in 2018. However, his popularity has been hit by recent allegations that he either had knowledge or involvement in the wrongdoings.
On March 3, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s institute said the former president had never committed any illegal acts before, during or after his presidential term.
The corruption scandal threatens the government of Dilma Rousseff, who has faced repeated impeachment calls, analysts say.
Dilma Rousseff has denied having any knowledge of wrongdoings.
Chris Brown’s promoter John Michael Pio Roda has denied claims he defrauded an influential religious sect in the Philippines.
John Michael Pio Roda denied receiving over $1 million from the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) for a December 31 concert hosted by the sect for which Chris Brown failed to show up.
The promoter has been held at the capital’s Bureau of Immigration detention facility for nearly two weeks.
His legal counsel described his arrest as “Gestapo-like”.
Chris Brown failed to attend the show in question due to a lost passport.
Iglesia-linked local concert producers Maligaya Development Corp. have asked the justice department to file criminal fraud charges against Chris Brown and John Michael Pio Roda, saying they had been advanced their million-dollar fee.
John Michael Pio Roda’s lawyers said in a statement: “To hold Mr. Pio Roda accountable for the entire one million dollars… is not only without legal or factual basis but is a travesty of justice and a continued violation of human rights.”
They said John Michael Pio Roda, in fact, received $45,000 and that he and Chris Brown received another $578,750 in advance from another company.
Chris Brown was stopped from leaving the Philippines by the immigration bureau for three days in July over the row, having returned to play another show.
Although Chris Brown was later allowed to the leave the country, the fraud complaint hearings against the singer will proceed.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to eight months in jail for fraud and breach of trust, a Jerusalem court rules.
Ehud Olmert was convicted at a retrial in March of accepting illegal payments from an American businessman while he served as mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister.
In 2014, Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison for accepting bribes.
Ehud Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and will remain free until his appeals against both convictions are heard.
A Supreme Court decision on the first appeal is expected in the next couple of months.
If he is unsuccessful, Ehud Olmert will become the first former head of government in Israel to be jailed.
Ehud Olmert served as Israel’s prime minister from 2006 to 2009.
He was forced to resign amid a flurry corruption allegations, which ended his political career and disrupted the peace process with the Palestinians.
In 2012, Ehud Olmert was acquitted of fraud, concealing fraudulent earnings and breach of trust in connection with donations received from a New York-based financier, Morris Talansky between 1997 and 2005.
However, a retrial was ordered after a former aide, Shula Zaken, accepted a plea bargain and testified against Ehud Olmert. Shula Zaken gave prosecutors diary entries and tape recordings of conversations in which Ehud Olmert referred to receiving the money.
Ehud Olmert, 69, was found guilty of fraud and breach of trust in March and on May 25 was sentenced to eight months in jail. He was also given a suspended sentence of an additional eight months and fined 100,000 shekels ($25,000).
The Jerusalem District Court said the sentence recognized Ehud Olmert’s contributions to Israeli society, but noted that “a black flag hovers over his conduct”.
Ehud Olmert’s lawyer Eyal Rozovsky said they were “very disappointed” by the sentence.
The former prime minister has always insisted that he is innocent and has described the allegations against him as “a brutal, ruthless witch-hunt”.
He is also appealing against the six-year sentence he was given in May 2014 in connection with a real estate deal at took place when he was mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s.
Ehud Olmert was convicted of accepting bribes in return for speeding up a controversial residential development, known as Holyland, in Jerusalem.
Egypt’s Court of Cassation has overturned the convictions for embezzlement of former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons and ordered a retrial.
Hosni Mubarak, now 86, was jailed for three years in May after being found guilty of fraudulently billing the government for $14 million of personal expenses.
However, the Court of Cassation found legal procedures were not followed properly.
Hosni Mubarak’s lawyer says the former president would soon be released from detention at a Cairo military hospital.
It was the last remaining case keeping Hosni Mubarak behind bars.
Charges of conspiring in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s rule in 2011 were dropped in November.
The former president and his sons – Alaa, 53, and Gamal, 51 – were also cleared of two separate corruption charges.
The Court of Cassation, Egypt’s top appeals court, announced that it had overturned the three men’s convictions for embezzlement and ordered a retrial at a brief session on January 13.
At the original trial, prosecutors alleged that Hosni Mubarak and his sons had billed the government for more than 100,000 Egyptian pounds of personal expenses – including utility bills, interior design, landscaping, furniture and appliances – for several private homes and a public palace that was fraudulently transferred to their ownership.
Other expenses included renovating a villa, and building a new palace wing to accommodate one of Hosni Mubarak’s granddaughters and a mausoleum for a grandson who died, they said.
Evidence submitted by the prosecutors included more than a thousand original and forged receipts.
When a new court is assigned for the retrial, the judges could order Hosni Mubarak to be freed because no convictions against him remain.
Egyptian media report that Hosni Mubarak had been expected to be released from the military hospital at Maadi on January 17 even if the embezzlement conviction was upheld because he has been in custody since April 2011.
Facebook is fighting a New York court order in which the social media website was forced to hand over data belonging to 381 people involved in a benefit fraud trial.
Facebook said the request was “by far the largest” it had ever received from a government body.
Photographs, private messages and other information were supplied to a New York court last year, but the process was only made public by a judge this week.
The ruling defined Facebook as a “digital landlord”.
A judge said this definition meant the company must comply with search warrants.
The original case investigated fraudulent claimants of US federal disability benefits, whose Facebook accounts apparently showed that they were in fact healthy.
Facebook is fighting a New York court order in which it was forced to hand over data belonging to 381 people involved in a benefit fraud trial
The social media site was ordered to hand over information from the 381 accounts, which the court said contained “evidence of criminality”.
After an appeal was denied, Facebook complied with the request but protested that it violated the Fourth Amendment of the US constitution, which protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures”.
Facebook also voiced concerns about the lack of date restrictions on the warrant, which it argued allowed the US government to keep the data indefinitely, and the range of data requested, which it said would contain private material which bore no relation to the trial.
The proceedings have been kept private by the court, but after a fresh appeal by Facebook a New York judge has now made the court filing public.
Facebook said the government had obtained “gag orders”, preventing it from telling the account holders that it had been forced to hand over their data.
“This unprecedented request is by far the largest we’ve ever received – by a magnitude of more than ten – and we have argued that it was unconstitutional from the start,” wrote Chris Sonderby, a legal adviser to Facebook.
“Of the 381 people whose accounts were the subject of these warrants, 62 were later charged in a disability fraud case.
“This means that no charges will be brought against more than 300 people whose data was sought by the government without prior notice to the people affected.”
But a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney defended the court’s actions.
“This was a massive scheme involving as many as 1,000 people who defrauded the federal government,” said Joan Vollero.
“The defendants in this case repeatedly lied to the government about their mental, physical, and social capabilities. Their Facebook accounts told a different story.”
In a summation of the legal justification for the court’s decision, the judge wrote: “Facebook could best be described as a digital landlord, a virtual custodian or storage facility for millions of tenant users and their information.
“Hence, the search warrants authorize the search and seizure of digital information contained within the Facebook server.”
Jeri Wright, the daughter of Barack Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright, was convicted on Friday of laundering thousands of dollars from a state grant for a Chicago-area job-training program, federal prosecutors said.
A federal jury found Jeri Wright, 48, guilty on all counts for her part in a fraud scheme led by a former suburban police chief and the chief’s husband, according to the US Attorney’s office for the Central District of Illinois in Springfield.
The $1.25 million state grant was for a not-for-profit work and education program called We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, owned by Regina Evans, former police chief of Country Club Hills, and her husband, Ronald Evans Jr.
Jeri Wright, a close friend of the couple, took as much as $11,000 from checks worth more than $30,000 that were supposed to be for work related to the grant, prosecutors said. About $20,000 was deposited back into accounts controlled by Regina and Ronald Evans.
Jeri Wright is the daughter of Barack Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright
Regina and Ronald Evans has pleaded guilty to the fraud scheme.
The grant agreement was supposed to provide bricklaying and electrical pre-apprenticeship training and GED preparation at the Regal Theater, another entity owned by the couple. Little, if any, of the training provided in the grant agreement was ever completed, according to prosecutors.
Jeremiah Wright was the Chicago pastor whose inflammatory church sermons, which often condemned US attitudes on race, poverty and other issues, became a focus during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Jeri Wright also was convicted of making false statements to law enforcement officers and giving false testimony to a grand jury.
The maximum penalty for money laundering is up to 20 years in prison, and five years in prison on the other counts.
Jeri Wright told reporters outside the Springfield federal court house that she will appeal. Sentencing is scheduled for July 7.
Subrata Roy – the chairman of Sahara, one of India’s biggest businesses – has been arrested after he surrendered to the police.
The Supreme Court had ordered the arrest of Subrata Roy on Wednesday after he failed to appear before judges in a case of fraud.
Two Sahara firms are accused of raising 240 billion rupees ($3.9 billion) through bonds that were found to be illegal.
Market regulators say Subrata Roy failed to refund the money to millions of investors despite a court order.
He is expected to remain in custody until March 4 as the Supreme Court refused to take up his bail petition on Friday, saying it was “not urgent”.
“Mr. Roy willfully submitted himself before [the northern city of] Lucknow police. He is co-operating with all authorities,” his son, Seemanto Roy, told a press conference in Delhi.
Senior police official Habibul Hasan in Lucknow said the businessman would be produced before the magistrate soon.
The Supreme Court had ordered the arrest of Subrata Roy on Wednesday after he failed to appear before judges in a case of fraud
Earlier on Friday, Subrata Roy issued a statement saying he was not “absconding” from arrest after police in Lucknow said they had raided his house on Thursday, but failed to find him.
Subrata Roy said he was indeed in Lucknow but had stepped out to consult doctors about his ailing mother.
On Wednesday, angry judges ordered the businessman’s arrest after his lawyer said the Sahara chief had been unable to appear in court since his 92-year-old mother was very unwell.
Subrata Roy and his rags-to-riches life story is a household name in India.
Sahara group, worth 682 billion rupees ($11 billion), has businesses ranging from finance, housing, manufacturing, aviation and the media. It also has interests overseas – it owns New York’s landmark Plaza Hotel and London’s iconic Grosvenor House.
Subrata Roy’s group also sponsors the Indian hockey team and owns a stake in Formula One racing team, Force India.
With more than 1.1 million workers, Sahara is India’s biggest private sector employer.
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