Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to more than 11 years in prison

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Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to 135 months or 11.25 years in prison for her role in defrauding investors in her blood testing company. She will receive another three years of supervised release.

Holmes is not due to report to prison until April next year.

Holmes, 38, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, who sits in federal court in California’s Northern District and oversaw her trial last year. Davila said he had set a future date for the Holmes hearing. according to until reporters in the courtroom.

Holmes, who is pregnant for the second time, spoke to the court crying on Friday.

“I stand before you and take responsibility for Theranos. It was my life’s work’ she said, said reporters in court.

“I’m devastated by my shortcomings,” she said, noting that she felt “deep pain for what people were going through because I let them down.” She then apologized to investors and patients, adding, “I regret my shortcomings with every cell of my body.”

Jurors convicted Holmes on Jan. 4 of one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against Theranos investors and three counts of wire transfer fraud. Each count had a maximum of 20 years in prison and could be served simultaneously. Prosecutors asked Davila to sentence her to 15 years.

“She repeatedly chose lies, hype and the prospect of billions of dollars over patient safety and fair dealing with investors,” assistant attorney Robert Leach wrote in a 46-page letter filed last week. “Elizabeth Holmes’s crimes didn’t fail, they lied — lying in the most serious context, where everyone needed her to tell the truth.”

Elizabeth Holmes in 2015 when her medical testing business was valued at $9 billion.

Taylor Hill via Getty Images

The jury that reviewed Holmes’s case found her not guilty on four other counts — three of which related to defrauding patients — and failed to reach a verdict on three others after seven days of deliberations.

“Everything went through her. She had final approval,” juror Wayne Kaatz, an Emmy-winning TV writer, told TBEN News of Holmes’ apparent guilt when it came to Theranos’ business dealings.

Juror Susanna Stefanek, an editor at Apple, told The Wall Street Journal there were two “smoking guns” in the trial: a report Theranos gave to investors that Holmes had altered to resemble an endorsement of the pharmaceutical and biotech company Pfizer , and a company document that projected $40 million in annual sales from pharmaceutical companies, even though there were no such contracts.

Jurors said they found her not guilty of charges related to defrauding patients because she was too many steps away from them. As for the charges they were unable to rule on, the jurors said they couldn’t agree on whether there was sufficient evidence that Holmes had lied to certain investors.

Elizabeth Holmes' request for a new trial was denied earlier this month.
Elizabeth Holmes’ request for a new trial was denied earlier this month.

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Holmes launched Theranos in 2003, when she was just 19, after she dropped out of Stanford University. Silicon Valley, media outlets, and prominent figures quickly saw her as “someone to watch,” attracting numerous high-profile investors, including the Walton family, founders of Walmart; media mogul Rupert Murdoch; and former education secretary Betsy DeVos.

In 2015, her company was valued at a whopping $9 billion. But that same year, whistleblowers from within the company began informing reporters that Theranos’ machines were largely out of order and there was little evidence that they ever would be. Investors and business partners began to pull back and inquiries began to pile up.

In addition to the Jan. 4 conviction, Holmes reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 on additional allegations of fraud and thus was barred from serving as a director or officer of any public company for ten years.

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