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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison after being found guilty in January on four out of 11 counts of defrauding investors. Holmes has been the subject of multiple podcasts, documentaries and dramatizations of her story, most notably the series The Dropout, in which Amanda Seyfried won an Emmy for portraying her. Holmes, 38, is currently pregnant with her second child. She had her first child, son William, with her partner, hotel heir Billy Evans, 29, in July of 2021. It’s been speculated that Holmes’ pregnancies were bids to avoid prison time. She is not scheduled to report to custody until late April, I would assume after she gives birth.
Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on Friday following her conviction in January for defrauding investors while running the failed blood testing startup Theranos.
Judge Edward Davila imposed a sentence of 11 years and three months in prison, with another three years of supervision after Holmes is released. The sentence also includes a fine of $400, or $100 for each count of fraud. Restitution will be set at a later date. Holmes was ordered to turn herself into custody on April 27, 2023. She is expected to appeal her conviction.
Holmes, who was found guilty in January on four charges of defrauding investors, faced up to 20 years in prison as well as a fine of $250,000 plus restitution for each count.
Lawyers for the government asked for a 15-year prison term, as well as probation and restitution, while Holmes’ probation officer pushed for a nine-year term. Holmes’ defense team asked Davila, who presided over her case, to sentence her to up to 18 months of incarceration followed by probation and community service.
Before the sentencing was announced, a tearful Holmes spoke to the court in San Jose, California. “I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work,” she said. “The people I tried to get involved with Theranos were the people I loved and respected the most. I am devastated by my failings.”
She also apologized to the employees, investors and patients of Theranos. “I’m so, so sorry. I gave everything I had to build our company and to save our company,” she said. “I regret my failings with every cell in my body.”
“The judge imposed a powerful sentence that confirms that fraud cannot masquerade as innovation in Silicon Valley,” said George Demos, a former SEC enforcement attorney and adjunct law professor at UC Davis. “When given the opportunity to speak, Elizabeth Holmes made a statement that she takes responsibility for Theranos but did not say she takes responsibility for the fraud.”
I listened to the original Dropout podcast and watched The Dropout series and The Inventor documentary on HBO. As I’ve mentioned, I have zero sympathy for Holmes and a lot of respect for the employees who blew the whistle on her fraud and lies. She deserves more than 11 years, her deception harmed a lot of people, not just monetarily. She ran Theranos like a cult with loyalty and secrecy valued above all and no concern for the people whose health and money she was jeopardizing. I give zero sh-ts that she’s pregnant now. Her partner and relatives can raise the baby. Just because other criminals have received less time doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t face consequences. The prison system is cruelly punitive to mothers and that needs to change but this is not the case where an exception should be made.
Holmes’ co-conspirator, Sunny Balwani, has been found guilty in a separate trial of all 12 charges against him. His sentencing is scheduled for December 7.