Elizabeth Holmes Is Expected to Appeal Her Sentence

theranos executives elizabeth holmes and  sunny balwani return to court
What Elizabeth Holmes Is Up to These DaysJustin Sullivan - Getty Images
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Elizabeth Holmes was once touted as a Silicon Valley trailblazer, following in the footsteps of her idol Steve Jobs. After dropping out of Stanford, she founded the biotechnology company Theranos, which claimed to have developed a device that would revolutionize blood testing. At 30, Holmes was named the world's youngest self-made female billionaire by Forbes.

But thanks to reporting by the Wall Street Journal's John Carreyrou, and subsequent investigations by the FBI, DOJ, and SEC, Holmes's house of cards crumbled. In January, she was convicted on four felony counts of fraud, and is currently awaiting sentencing. The trial of Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, Theranos's president and Holmes's former boyfriend, starts this month.

There's been no shortage of projects delving into the Theranos saga, from Carreyou's book Bad Blood to HBO's documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. And this month brings the much-anticipated release of Hulu's The Dropout, a miniseries based on the ABC News podcast of the same name, which stars Amanda Seyfried as Holmes and Naveen Andrews as Balwani.

Below, an update on what we know about Holmes's current situation, from her sentencing to her new fiancé and second pregnancy.

Holmes was charged by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In June of 2018, the DOJ charged Holmes and Theranos's former COO, Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, with 11 criminal felony counts—and there could be more coming. Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Bostic told Vanity Fair that the "story is bigger than what’s captured in the [original] indictment," and it "doesn’t capture all the criminal conduct."

The SEC also charged Holmes and Balwani with "raising more than $700 million from investors through an elaborate, years-long fraud." Holmes chose to settle for $500,000, and agreed not to serve as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years. Balwani opted to fight those charges in court.

theranos founder elizabeth holmes testifies in her own defense at trial
Elizabeth Holmes and Billy EvansEthan Swope - Getty Images

Holmes gave birth weeks before her trial began.

In 2017, Holmes started dating hospitality heir Billy Evans. The pair met at a party that year, and soon became engaged, before tying the knot during the summer of 2019.

In March of 2021, Holmes disclosed to the court that she was pregnant with her first child. This prompted a delay to the proceedings. She gave birth on July 10 at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, California, just a month before her trial finally began.

Many commentators, including John Carreyrou, the former Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the Theranos scandal, raised the possibility that this timing was no coincidence. In an interview with CNBC, Carreyou said that some people tied to her case "think that she was timing her pregnancy in order to be showing during the trial to get the jury sympathies.” Carreyou added: "If Elizabeth is convicted and the case goes to the judge for sentencing, if he sends her to prison for a long time he’d be depriving the child of his or her mother for many years, and that’s a heavy decision to make.”

elizabeth holmes
NICK OTTO - Getty Images

Holmes's trial began in August of 2021.

Holmes's trial began last summer, and would stretch on for 15 weeks. The proceedings had been delayed multiple times, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and Holmes's pregnancy.

She faced nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and pleaded not guilty on all counts. Prosecutors argued that Holmes deceived investors, buyers, doctors, and patients over the course of her time at Theranos. She claimed that the company's device, the Edison, could conduct hundreds of lab tests using only a fingerprick's worth of blood. But the device never worked, and Holmes allegedly lied to conceal that fact.

Holmes's defense argued that she genuinely believed in the device, and didn't knowingly deceive investors.

Court Hearing Held For Theranos Founder And Former President On Fraud Charges
Ramesh Balwani leaves a federal court in San Jose on January 14, 2019.Justin Sullivan - Getty Images

During her testimony, Holmes claimed that Balwani was controlling and abusive towards her throughout their relationship, and that his influence clouded her judgement.

She was convicted on four counts of fraud.

In January 2022, Holmes was convicted on three charges of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Following the conviction, Holmes she remained free on a $500,000 bond, and could face up to 20 years in prison. But given her lack of criminal history, experts predict that she could face far less time than that. It's also likely that Holmes will appeal, and if she wins, she could avoid prison altogether.

On March 1, a federal court judge tightened the conditions of Holmes's bail, to ensure she wouldn't flee in the run-up to her sentencing. In September, as she was awaiting her sentencing, she requested a new trial—arguing a key witness, former Theranos lab director Adam Rosendorff, allegedly regrets the role he played in her conviction.

Holmes was sentenced to 135 months in prison.

elizabeth holmes sentencing
Elizabeth Holmes, with her mother and partner, walks into the federal courthouse for her sentencing hearing. AMY OSBORNE - Getty Images

On November 18, Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison: 135 months, followed by three years of supervised release. Per the New York Times, "Her lawyers had asked for just 18 months of house arrest, while prosecutors sought 15 years and $804 million in restitution for 29 investors." Judge Davila said before his sentencing, "Was there a loss of moral compass here? Was it hubris? Was it intoxication with the fame that comes with being a young entrepreneur?"

"I am devastated by my failings," Holmes said in court. "I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them." She plans to appeal.

Holmes is currently pregnant with her second child. She must surrender to custody on April 27, 2023.

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