Crime & Justice

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes reports to prison

Washington, May 30 (EFE).- Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrived Tuesday at a prison in Texas to begin serving a stiff sentence for misleading investors about the efficacy of the company’s “revolutionary” approach to blood testing as well as its business prospects.

The 39-year-old Holmes, who recently gave birth to her second child, was convicted in January 2022 of four counts of wire fraud and sentenced last November.

The one-time rising star of Silicon Valley faced a maximum of 20 years behind bars and prosecutors had asked that she be sent to prison for 15 years and ordered to pay $804 million in restitution to more than two-dozen investors.

US District Judge Edward J. Davila imposed a sentence of 11 years and three months and rejected Holmes’ request that she be allowed to remain free pending appeal.

Her former business partner, Ramesh Balwani, was convicted in a separate trial and sentenced to 13 years. Together, they have been ordered to pay back $452 million to defrauded investors such as media magnate Rupert Murdoch and Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States.

Holmes reported to FPC Bryan, a minimum-security prison camp for women about 90 minutes by car from Houston. The facility currently has 655 inmates.

The then-19-year-old Holmes dropped out of Stanford University in 2003 to devote herself full-time to building Theranos.

Within a decade, Holmes had convinced numerous prominent people, including former Secretary of State George Shultz, to invest in Theranos on the strength of her claim to have developed technology to allow for automated rapid on-site blood tests using small amounts of blood.

Large corporations formed partnerships with Theranos and at 31, Holmes had a net worth of $4.5 billion and was being compared to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

But in late 2015, The Wall Street Journal published a series of stories demolishing Theranos’ claims, which led in 2018 to the dissolution of the company and indictments of Holmes and Balwani.

EFE mgr/dr

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