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Elizabeth Holmes misled the DeVos family when they invested $100 million in Therano. A representative testifies, "When they put $100 millions into Therranas, they paid $100 billion to the company."

Elizabeth Holmes misled the DeVos family when they invested $100 million in Therano. A representative testifies, "When they put $100 millions into Therranas, they paid $100 billion to the company."

Elizabeth Holmes misled the family of former education secretary Betsy DeVos when the former Therano exec convinced the billionaire dynasty to invest $100 million in the biotech start-up, according to a family representative who testified Tuesday.

Holmes, who is on trial for wire fraud in San Jose, handpicked the DeVos family and other billionaire investors to finance the biotech start-up, according to Lisa Peterson, a private equity adviser at the family's office, RDV, and was in charge of the Therano deal, reported the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. While Holmes promoted the firm's portable blood-testing devices that drew blood through the prick of a patient' s finger and supposedly screened it for diseases, federal prosecutors accuse the executive of knowing that the start-up'' technology did not work as advertised and providing misleading financial information to investors to back it up.

According to court testimony, Holmes' offer to the DeVos family in 2014 was so strong that they increased their initial $50 million investment to $100 million.

According to the testimony, Peterson said of Holmes, "She was inviting us to participate in this opportunity." Peterson stated of Theranos' technology, "They were telling us it worked." We relied on what they told us."

Peterson's testimony came in the eighth week of Holmes' trial, which has detailed the health start-up founder' s remarkable rise and fall, as well as his subsequent ambitions to revolutionize blood testing.

Holmes, 37, is charged with 12 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire abuse. She faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. She has pleaded not guilty and said she ran the firm in good faith. In court documents before the trial began, her defense team accused her former boyfriend, Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, who was Theranos' chief operating officer at the time, of abusing and controlling her. Balwani, 56, has denied the claims, and Holmes's defense team hasn't brought them up during the trial. Balwani, who has pleaded not guilty, will be tried separately in 2022.

Early Wednesday, neither Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Leach nor Lance Wade, an attorney for Holmes, responded immediately to requests for comment. A spokesman for the DeVos family's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Holmes told the Securities and Exchange Commission in an interview years ago that she sought investors such as the DeVos family because of her belief that they would support keeping Theranoset a private company, according to the Journal. Amway, the multilevel marketing firm founded by the family's patriarch in the 1950s, is responsible for the DeVos family fortune. Betsy DeVos was named education secretary under President Donald Trump in 2016, despite having never held a public office.

Holmes also mentioned investors such as the Walton family, which has more than 50 percent of Walmart shares and invested $150 million in Theranos, and conservative media executive Rupert Murdoch, who owns News Corp and contributed $125 million to the company.

Investors gave over $900 million to Theranos in total.

Holmes stated in a court filing that "we were looking for family-owned businesses or family controlled businesses and leadership who wanted to invest in something for the long term."

Holmes approached the DeVos family in 2014, appealing to them by saying the blood-testing devices could be used in places like military helicopters and refugee camps, according to Peterson. She noted that Holmes explained to the family how Theranos' homegrown technology could perform between 200 and 300 tests using only a tiny amount of blood. Peterson decided to work on the Theranos deal because she was "intimidated" by what it might mean to the health-care industry.

According to CNBC, Peterson stated that "This was going to be a game-changer in health care."

According to the Journal, RDV CEO Jerry Tubergen sent an email to DeVos family members in September 2014 to a jury. Tubergen also included a Holmes story in the email. "This morning I had one of the most interesting meetings I can remember with the woman featured in the attached Fortune magazine article," he said.

But, unbeknown to the DeVos family, Peterson said, the business was testing with third-party software. When Leach asked Peterson if Holmes mentioned that most of the company's testing was done on third-party computers, the DeVos family office' spokesman said no.

"Would that have weighed on you?" Leach questioned.

Peterson responded, "Yes."

Peterson told jurors Tuesday that Theranos revealed financial projections, which indicated the firm was not only in good financial shape but also prepared for a significant increase in income. She testified that the firm projected $140 million in 2014 before rising to $990 million by 2015. Peterson stated that Theranos had no income in 2012 and 2013.

She acknowledged during Wade's cross-examination that RDV did not hire regulatory experts, counsel, or medical experts in its due diligence process because they didn't think they needed it.

Peterson stated that Holmes failed to stop misleading investors or the public about the family's investment following the DeVos decision. In court, prosecutors played clips from a 2015 interview she gave with CNBC's Jim Cramer following scathing investigation by the Journal into Theranos' technology. Holmes was running a workplace in which workers were afraid to raise concerns about serious issues and were discouraged from working with other teams, according to those articles.

"This is what happens when you work to change things," she said at the time. "First they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world."

Holmes said, "Anything that happens in this company is my responsibility at the end of the day." Another clip from a 2016 interview on NBC's "Today" program was shown in which the prosecutor said: "Everything in my company will be my choice at that time."

Peterson said she met Holmes for the first time since the DeVos family's investment to ask a simple question: "What're you doing?"

Peterson told CNBC that "[Holmes] very much downplayed what had been happening in the press." "Most of the correspondence we'd received from the firm was minimizing what we had read in the news."

Holmes's trial is expected to continue until late this year, and until the end of the year.

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Rachel Lerman of The Washington Post contributed to this article.

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