Money, technology, power – new documentary follows the story of the youngest self-made female billionaire

Graphic for the the "Nightline" feature, "The Dropout."

A new documentary trailer has arrived on our screens to shine a light on the story of a college dropout who became the youngest self-made female billionaire – to then come crashing down.

After a three-year investigation by ABC News Chief Business, Technology and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, ‘Nightline’ has produced the feature documentary ‘The Dropout’ to tell the story of Elizabeth Holmes, the college dropout turned founder and CEO of technology company Theranos.

Once the youngest self-made female billionaire, Elizabeth’s company and its nearly 10 billion dollar valuation came crashing down amid accusations of massive fraud. In “The Dropout” Jarvis guides viewers through the twists and turns of Elizabeth’s rise and fall with new interviews and never-before-aired deposition tapes, and hears from central figures from all chapters of the story. On Wednesday, 23 January, ‘Nightline’ will air a special preview of the documentary and ABC Radio will launch a six-part podcast with the same title, also hosted by Jarvis. New podcast episodes will be made available each Wednesday.

“The Dropout” features the first sit-down interview with Jeff Coopersmith, the attorney representing Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, former Theranos President and COO, and exclusive access to never-before-aired deposition tapes of key players including Elizabeth; Balwani; Christian Holmes, Elizabeth’s brother; Tyler Shultz, Theranos whistleblower; Theranos board members Bill Frist, Gary Roughead, Robert Kovacevich and more. Also featured are Jarvis’ exclusive broadcast interviews with Sheri Ackert and Pallav Sharda, patients speaking out about what they say are inaccurate test results they received through Theranos, plus Elizabeth’s high school physics teacher, former Apple executive and Theranos board member Avie Tevanian and dozens of former employees, investors and journalists.

“This is a story that I’ve been deeply researching and investigating for years,” says Jarvis. “I’ve been covering business for more than a decade, from the Housing Collapse to the Fall of Bear Stearns, to the Bernie Madoff Scandal. But none of these comes even close to the mystery and intrigue of Elizabeth Holmes. I’m excited to share the information we’ve gathered both in the documentary and the six-part podcast.”

Theranos was created by Elizabeth, a Stanford University dropout, and was characterized as a revolutionary technology company capable of performing hundreds of blood tests and detecting diseases by utilizing a drop or two of blood. But following a 2015 investigative piece published in the Wall Street Journal questioning the company’s validity, Theranos began to disintegrate. Elizabeth and Balwani were charged with “massive fraud” by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The U.S. Department of Justice alleges they perpetrated multi-million dollar schemes to defraud investors, doctors, and patients – they have both pleaded not guilty but face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Just last year Elizabeth reached a settlement with the SEC, which included a $500,000 fine. She was stripped of her control of the company and is now barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years. Theranos and Elizabeth neither admitted nor denied the allegations in the SEC’s complaint.

“The Dropout” is a documentary film by Victoria Thompson, Taylor Dunn and Ashley Louszko, and a podcast written and reported by Dunn, Jarvis and Senior Producer Thompson. Steven Baker is executive producer and Jenna Millman is supervising producer.

Watch the trailer via