Theranos fraudster Elizabeth Holmes jailed for over 11 years for conning investors over multi-billion dollar blood-testing scam
Disgraced Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, was found guilty of defrauding investors and putting patients in danger while promoting a phony blood-testing device. She was given a sentence of more than 11 years in a US federal prison.
In January, a Californian jury found the 38-year-old guilty on three charges of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy. She received a 135-month sentence.
Additionally, prosecutors demanded $804 million (£675 million) in damages from Holmes.
The sum pays for the majority of the roughly $1 billion (£840 million) she secured from a group of knowledgeable investors that included the Walmart-owning Walton family and software tycoon Larry Ellison.
The crimes committed by Holmes were described by prosecutors as “among the most significant white collar offenses Silicon Valley or any other district has seen.”
To avoid making their client a “sacrifice to public passion,” her legal team had pleaded with the judge to be merciful.
The sentence imposed by US District Judge Edward Davila was much harsher than the leniency her legal team sought for the mother of a year-old son with another child on the way, despite being less than the 15-year punishment sought by federal prosecutors.
Theranos, according to the judge, “used misrepresentations, hubris, and simply plain lying.”
Theranos’ technology and financial standing, according to the prosecution, were misrepresented by Holmes, who claimed the company’s miniature blood testing device could perform a variety of tests using just a few drops of blood.
Prosecutors claimed that the business used covertly purchased standard machines from other businesses to run patients’ tests.
Award-winning TV series and a documentary have both explored Holmes’ remarkable rise and dramatic fall.
Theranos Inc., which was once valued at $9 billion (£7.5 billion), claimed to transform how patients obtained diagnoses by displacing conventional labs with portable devices that could be used in homes, pharmacies, and even on the battlefield.
In 2014, when Holmes was 30 and her stake in Theranos was valued at $4.5 billion (£3.8 billion), Forbes branded her the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire.
But after a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal in 2015 cast doubt on its technology, the start-up failed.
Prosecutors contended that Holmes, rather than letting Theranos collapse, lied to investors about the company’s technology and finances.
In her testimony in her own defense, Holmes stated that she had thought her claims to be true at the time.
Holmes was found guilty on three counts, but she was cleared on four others that claimed she had misled the patients who had paid for Theranos tests.
Edward Davila, the case’s judge, had rejected Holmes’ pleas to have her convictions overturned on the grounds that the evidence presented at trial supported them.
Holmes may file an appeal after being sentenced.
James Mattis, a former US defense secretary who testified against Holmes during her trial, and two former US secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger and the late George Shultz, whose son submitted a statement criticizing Holmes for fabricating a scheme that played Shultz “for the fool,” were all members of the high-powered Theranos board that she assembled while wooing investors.
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