While a legal decision about her behavior as CEO lies in the future, the verdict on her character appears to be in. Elizabeth Holmes is a fraud.
Another recent article, from the Mercury News, highlights comments by Phyllis Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford University. Gardner, who knew Holmes when Holmes was a student, similarly concludes that "fraud" is the right word to describe her.
The quotation excerpted from the Alternet article, and placed under Holmes' picture, above, refers to an important distinction. In human affairs, what is "good" is not the same thing as what is "legal." What we think of as "bad" actions may, in fact, be perfectly "legal," and it is certainly not true that all "legal" actions must be counted as "good."
Fraud is generally defined in the law as (1) an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact (2) made by one person to another with (3) knowledge of its falsity and (4) for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and (5) upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud may also be made by an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading.
Alternet says that "Elizabeth Holmes [equals] a fraud," and cites to the fact that Holmes typically wore a black turtleneck, in imitation of Steve Jobs. In all fairness, that does not, at least to my mind, indicate that all the elements of "fraud" are present. Something about this Alternet article on Holmes struck me wrong, even though I completely agree that "character" is always key to a proper evaluation of a person's life and conduct, which is one of the main points that Alternet makes.
Let's look to our own willingness to build a society on hype. That is at least as big a danger as the presence of those "frauds" who will use our own lack of judgment and good character to "take us for a ride," and to relieve us of money that we can't afford to lose. The name "Bernie Madoff" comes to mind. Remember him?
If we don't watch out for our own susceptibility to hype, we will soon be back bemoaning the character of those whom we will denominate as "frauds," after we have made the error of trusting them, and what they say, without requiring appropriate verification. Only if we take our own responsibilities seriously will we avoid being gulled by the "frauds" who are beguiling us all, even now!