The former Theranos employee who exposed the medical tech company in 2014 says he was ‘bullied’ by the firm’s lawyers and followed by private investigators after he reported its faulty technology.
Tyler Shultz, 29, is known as the whistleblower who first raised the alarm on Elizabeth Holmes’s $10billion company which had claimed to have revolutionized blood-testing with a device that was able to detect illnesses with just one drop.
Shultz had been initially hired as an intern after meeting Holmes through his 99-year-old ex-Secretary of State grandfather, George Shultz, who sat on the board.
Over time, he grew suspicious of the company’s practices and eventually reported it to U.S. regulators, leading to the collapse of the business and ruining his relationship with his grandfather in the process.
Holmes was later charged with 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and is currently awaiting trial.
In an interview with Uproxx this week, Shultz described finding himself ‘under extreme pressure’ by attorneys and feeling like his ‘livelihood was endangered’ after speaking out against his former employer.
Former employee Tyler Shultz (left) reported Elizabeth Holmes’s (right) medical tech company Theranos to US regulators in 2014 for allegedly doctoring its trials of a blood-testing device
Shultz, whose job involved checking the accuracy of the blood analysis results in the company’s Edison machines, claimed he knew right away that the device did not work
He revealed he spent between $400,000 and $500,000 in a legal battle against Theranos, during which his parents at one point considered selling their house.
Shultz also claimed Theranos’s lawyers had hired a team of private investigators to watch his every move and at one point even ‘entrapped’ him at his grandfather’s home.
‘They had lawyers hiding upstairs that I did not know were there when I went to go have an open, honest conversation with my grandfather, and then those lawyers were kind of sprung on me as a bit of a surprise,’ Shultz said.
‘I received a tip that, whether I was aware of it or not, that I was being watched about 80 to 90 per cent of the time that I was in public places.’
Shultz, whose job involved checking the accuracy of the blood analysis results in the company’s Edison machines, claimed he knew right away that the devices did not work as advertised.
Holmes (pictured with her lawyers in January) has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges of conspiracy and fraud in the case. Holmes’ trial is scheduled for August , in San Jose
‘Right off the bat, you could tell that this thing does not do hundreds of tests from a single drop of blood. This device can only run one test at a time,’ he said.
‘So if you came in and ordered 300 tests, even if those tests could be run on the Theranos platform, you’d have to run them on 300 different devices.
‘And then on top of that, you can tell that there’s nothing revolutionary about it.’
Shultz had been initially hired as an intern after meeting Holmes through his 99-year-old ex-Secretary of State grandfather, George Shult (pictured) who sat on the board
Shultz claimed the machine had other flaws in addition to its testing technology, such as a faulty door that had to be taped shut and a barcode scanner that sometimes failed to work.
‘It was such a disaster that I always thought that if we ever had to go to court, like if they sued me for violating trade secrets or whatever, I was going to demand that if this thing worked in a medevac helicopter it should work in that courtroom,’ he said.
‘The judge should prick his finger, and in four hours he should get 300 test results downloaded to his phone. And if it didn’t work, I should be able to leave.’
Shultz also spoke about his grandfather’s conflicting views on the matter, which he said stemmed from his own pride, as well as his close relationship with Holmes.
‘Basically, he was saying, he’s been right so many times that it’s impossible for him to be wrong at this point in his life,’ he said.
‘Another part of it was that he was infatuated by Elizabeth. He really treated her like she was part of the family.
‘They were very, very close, but I think that was also part of it.’
Shultz revealed he and his grandfather have since reconciled.
‘He’s doing great. He definitely sees that he was lied to by Elizabeth. He definitely is proud of me for doing what I did.’