Did Elizabeth Holmes fake a deep voice to sound more authoritative?
Holmes was the wunderkind behind Theranos, a company once hailed as innovative for its breakthrough technology that claimed it could perform hundreds of lab tests using only a couple drops of blood. The company was shuttered last year after its founder was accused of "massive fraud."
Her story is featured on this week's episode of ABC's "20/20," airing Friday at 9 p.m., and laid out in more detail on the six-part ABC News podcast "The Dropout."
A number of Holmes' former co-workers that ABC News spoke to said they suspected she purposely changed her voice, adding that she would sometimes slip up and speak in a higher pitch, typically when she'd been drinking.
"It was maybe at one of the company parties, and maybe she had too much to drink or what not, but she fell out of character and exposed that that was not necessarily her true voice," former Theranos employee Ana Arriola told ABC News.
Arriola was one of Holmes' first hires, poached from Apple, a company Holmes idolized.
"Maybe she needed to be more convincing to project a persona within a room among male [venture capitalists]," added Arriola. "I'm not really quite sure."
"When I first heard her voice, it immediately hits you in the face because you think, 'That voice shouldn't be coming out of that face,'" "20/20" co-anchor Amy Robach told Inside Edition.
Arriola was hired to design the aesthetic of Theranos' devices, including the famed Edison, the machine that was supposed to run all the tests on one or two drops of blood, but she said that Holmes turned to her for fashion advice as well. Holmes eventually began to channel Apple founder Steve Jobs and could often be seen wearing black turtlenecks like him.
But then it all came crashing down.
"She went from commanding a $9 billion company to now she is facing criminal charges and potentially could be spending decades in prison," Robach said.
Holmes reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2018 and agreed to pay a fine of $500,000, among other penalties. Two months later, Holmes was charged with multiple counts of fraud for misleading investors, government officials and consumers about Theranos' technology.
Holmes denies any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty. She is awaiting criminal trial and faces a prison sentence of 20 years, if convicted.