convicted and sentenced
Disgraced Theranos CEO and former Houstonian Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to 11 years for fraud
A former Houstonian who became the face of recent white-collar, Silicon Valley fraud case is facing more than a decade in prison.
Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood-testing startup Theranos, was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison on Friday, November 18 in San Jose, California. The sentencing comes her conviction in January for defrauding Theranos investors.
“I suppose we step back and ask what is the pathology of fraud? Is it the refusal to accept responsibility or express contrition in any way?" Judge Edward Davila said during the ruling, according to Yahoo! Finance. "Perhaps that is the cautionary tale that will go forward from this case."
Specifically, Holmes' sentence is 11 years and three months in prison, with another three years of supervision after release. Additionally, Holmes faces a fine of $400 million to be paid at a later date. Davila ordered Holmes, who is widely expected to appeal her sentence, to turn herself into custody on April 27, 2023.
Once compared to disruptors and innovators Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Holmes rose to fame by enticing investors with the promise that her Theranos could run hundreds of blood tests via a simple pin prick. Buzz for Theranos grew to the point that Theranos was valued at $9 billion, which made Holmes the world’s first self-made female billionaire.
Yet, after securing more than $900 million in funding, Theranos was proven to be essentially bogus by the Wall Street Journal in 2015.
Facing up to 20 years in prison, a tearful Holmes, who is pregnant, addressed the court. "I stand before you taking responsibility for Theranos," she said, per Yahoo. "I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work. My team meant the world to me. They wanted to make a difference in the world. I am devastated by my failings," she said. "Every day for the past years, I have felt deep pain for the people…those people who believe in us and those patients. I worked so hard to serve. I gave everything I had to try to to build...Theranos. Looking back, there are so many things I would do differently. I tried to realize my dream too quickly."
Holmes is the subject of a Hulu documentary, The Dropout, which centers on her early life in Houston, where she grew up in Tanglewood and attended St. John's School. Her father's layoff from Enron is presented as clearly an inciting incident in her life. As The Dropout depicts, Holmes would meet boyfriend/partner Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, drop out of Stanford, and launch Theranos.
One of the most memorable lines in the miniseries comes when a young Holmes plainly states her goals at a family gathering. "I wanna be a billionaire," she said plainly — a memorable and clearly prophetic statement.
This article originally ran on CultureMap.