Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to 11 years in Theranos fraud case

Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes

After being convicted on four counts of fraud in January, disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, The New York Times reports. The tech mogul, once hailed as the next Steve Jobs, faced up to 20 years in prison on charges that Theranos misled investors about its technology and finances.

Holmes founded Theranos in 2003, while still a student at Stanford University. The blood-testing company made its name (and eventual peak net worth of nearly $9 billion) on a technology called the Edison machine.

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Theranos purported that the Edison could perform hundreds of blood tests via a single finger prick. This wasn’t true. A 2015 report from The Wall Street Journal found that Theranos merely repurposed existing technology to test smaller blood samples—far from the complete industry rejuvenation Holmes promised.

Holmes pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were first brought back in 2018. In his closing arguments, lead prosecutor Jeff Schenk said that Holmes “chose fraud over business failure.”

“She chose to be dishonest,” Schenk asserted, per NBC News. “That choice was not only callous; it was criminal.”

Much of Holmes’ defense centered around her business and romantic partner, Rami Balwani, who served at one time as Theranos’ president and CEO. Holmes alleged that Balwani lied to her about the company’s finances and subjected her to intimate partner abuse. Balwani was convicted of fraud in July, and is set to be sentenced December 7.

Holmes’ story was memorably chronicled last year in Hulu’s limited series The Dropout. In the series, Amanda Seyfried portrayed Holmes and won an Emmy for her work.

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