Outcome health fraud trial: Prosecution closes its case

Outcome Health built a network of TV and computer screens in doctors’ offices and charged drug companies millions of dollars to advertise on them. Co-founders Rishi Shah and Shraddha Agarwal and former chief operating officer Brad Purdy are accused of selling inventory the company did not have, overbilling pharmaceutical customers, which inflated Outcome Health’s financial results, using To raise approximately $1 billion in loans and investments. Google Capital G and other investors.

It is unclear how many cases defense teams plan to mount when the trial resumes next week. Lawyers for Shah and Aggarwal said they would decide later this week whether their clients would testify. Purdy’s attorneys indicated that it was unlikely he would take the stand.

If they decide not to testify, closing arguments could come as soon as Tuesday, and the case will go to a jury by the end of the week. If it does, the trial originally scheduled to last 14 weeks could go to the jury after just nine.

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Already the defense teams have decided not to call in experts in the world of accounting and booming startups, which they had planned ahead of the trial.

The burden is on the government to prove that Shah, Agarwal and Purdy are guilty of cheating, Intentionally deceiving customers and investors for personal gain, Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, who is now a partner at Brian Cave Leighton Pasner, says it is very common for defendants not to pursue a case.

“When considering whether or not to file a defense case and how comprehensive the defense case is, defense attorneys focus on the strength of the government’s case,” Mariotti said. “If the government’s case is too weak, an argument can be made for having no defense case at all.

“Ironically, the incentives for a comprehensive defense case are highest when the government’s case is very strong. If a conviction appears almost certain, a ‘Hail Mary’ may be worth a shot.

Like most white-collar fraud cases, the trial has been long and complicated. Witness, including many Outcome Health employeesDigital advertising has become engrossed in the subtleties of contracts and accounting.

The case includes more than 1,300 pieces of evidence, ranging from emails and text messages to spreadsheets and voicemails. Both sides have chosen different documents – often different parts of the same long email chain – to provide jurors with very different versions of events.

In just one instance, prosecutors highlighted an email sent by Agarwal to Ashiq Desai, Outcome Health executive who pleads guilty in the case and agrees to testifyAs evidence of intent to commit fraud and conceal it from others.

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“Any time we’re having a back-and-forth discussion on what data to use, let’s take the seller off the chain. I’ve noticed that when presenting to clients their level of confidence in our data changes dramatically if they believe it is accurate versus made-up.

defense, however, highlight the second part of the email In which Agarwal explained why he chose a higher figure from a study compared to employees for a sales presentation.

“I don’t always share backend thinking with[sales]people on how we arrive at a number (same with inventory matching when we do projects) but I have a pattern of how I do it.”

Defense attorneys have to decide whether to roll the dice on the belief that they have created reasonable doubt and the government hasn’t proved their case, or try to prove their clients are innocent and perhaps have them testify. .

Traditionally, defendants rarely testify in criminal trials because it opens them up to cross-examination by prosecutors.

“More and more it’s becoming the norm. It used to be a no-no,” says Kevin O’Brien, a former federal prosecutor who did white-collar defense work at Ford O’Brien Landy in New York. going on, so why not? You need a Hail Mary. The only way the client convinces the jurors.”

That didn’t work for Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of health-tech startup Theranos, who took the stand but was convicted of fraud a year ago and sentenced to 11 years in prison. If convicted, Shah, Aggarwal and Purdy could face up to 30 years in prison.

This story first appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business.

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