Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been accused of telling increasingly bizarre lies. Picture: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been accused of telling increasingly bizarre lies. Picture: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize

Bizarre lies of disgraced $6.3b CEO

She was the brilliant founder of a multibillion-dollar company, but in the end everything about Elizabeth Holmes was fake - including her voice.

That's according to a new article published in Vanity Fair by reporter Nick Bilton, who has extensively followed Theranos' downfall over the years.

In his latest piece, Bilton paints a picture of a compulsive liar who resorted to increasingly erratic behaviour in her company's dying days.

And while many allegations of her business deceits have been well-documented, according to a slew of former employees and other sources who reached out to Bilton, her lies could also be astoundingly "small and petty" and personal in nature.

Even her trademark deep, baritone voice is apparently false - a claim previously covered in The Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou's book on Ms Holmes' disgrace, Bad Blood.

In the book, he shares an anecdote from a Theranos worker who remembered details of a meeting with an excited Ms Holmes held late one afternoon.

"She forgot to put on the baritone voice and went back into a more natural-sounding young woman's voice," the book states.

And in a 2005 interview for the TechNation Radio podcast, Ms Holmes can also be heard using her higher-pitched, natural voice for a few seconds before apparently realising her mistake and reverting back to her usual deep tone.

It is believed Ms Holmes adopted the deeper voice in an attempt to appear more authoritative and commanding.

Meanwhile, in recent days, a string of other ex-employees have also reached out to Bilton to share other discrepancies.

For example, Ms Holmes would famously boast about being well-read, claiming to be able to quote Jane Austen and regularly referring to works of philosophy.

But according to Bilton, "colleagues who questioned her about the canon found Holmes's intellect was mostly superficial".

It doesn't end there. Ms Holmes once told The New Yorker she "doesn't date" - but at the same time, she was in the middle of a relationship with Theranos' chief operating officer Sunny Balwani.

And in a previous article, Bilton described how Ms Holmes' dog, Balto, was named after a famous husky that had led an expedition carrying medicine to fight an outbreak of diphtheria in 1925.

But even that was untrue - the original Balto only completed around 88km of the dangerous trek, taking all the credit and media attention while a different dog completed the entire 420km trip.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes could end up behind bars. Picture: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes could end up behind bars. Picture: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

"Holmes had used Balto as a metaphor for her vision for Theranos," Bilton wrote.

"In reality, it was almost too apt. Balto represented Holmes's own shallow desire to be famous and take credit for something that wasn't true."

THERANOS' FALL FROM GRACE:

Theranos was a seemingly groundbreaking biotech company founded by a then 19-year-old Ms Holmes in 2003.

It rapidly rose to fame due to claims it had developed blood tests that only needed small amounts of blood.

At its peak in 2013-14, the company was valued at nearly $US10 billion ($A14 billion), and the young entrepreneur had a personal net worth of $US4.5 billion ($A6.3 billion).

When Carreyrou started investigating Theranos in 2015, he helped uncover the company's many false claims.

In 2016, Forbes revised Ms Holmes' fortune down to $0 as she faced mounting allegations of potential fraud.

In September 2018, Theranos was shut down for good, and today, its founder is facing a possible 20-year prison sentence.

Continue the conversation @carey_alexis | alexis.carey@news.com.au