Ms. Holmes is an interesting character as all such individuals are at some level. What I would like to know is how she convinced a rather stellar list of individuals to become involved with her company.
It's no mystery. Peoples' brains shut down when the prospect of huge riches are dangled in front of them (provided they get in on the ground floor, of course). Many con artists have scammed people out of millions with far less than what Theranos has disclosed.
As a case study, Google the story of Madison Priest. About 20 years ago, he claimed to have built a video compressor box that would stream data at optic fiber speeds over twisted pair copper wires. He also claimed the technology had been given to him by space aliens. Despite that, he got millions in venture capital from Blockbuster, U.S. West, and Teddy Turner (son of Ted Turner), among many others. Priest, by all accounts, was a uneducated two-bit con man, but he still got more than $6M (most of it spent on his personal expenses) before the investors gave up on him. Ms. Holmes, in contrast, is a well-educated, well-connected woman who travels in the highest circles of finance, and consequently has been able to obtain orders of magnitude more investment capital. However, so far it seems that her invention has no more substance to it than Mr. Priest's invention did.
If Theranos does crash and burn (and the indicators are not good), then I would bet that she will walk away from it relatively unscathed - not because of her wealth and status, but because that's how these situations play out. Madison Priest only did serious prison time because he was caught running a major marijuana growing operation in Florida, not because of his fake invention. Prosecutors and juries don't understand science and technology, and it is very hard to convict someone who says, "Of course my invention would have worked. I ran into technical difficulties and the company ran out of money when my investors bailed."
Creating a fake technology company is almost the perfect crime. As long as you pay your taxes and don't play games with the stocks you issue, your nose will be clean when the house of card collapses.