Elizabeth Holmes, 38, who has been described by Forbes as one of America’s richest billionaires, was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison for fraud. Although she is currently pregnant with her second child.
A federal judge on Friday, Nov. 18, jailed the Theranos founder for defrauding investors of her now-defunct blood testing startup, which was once valued at $9 billion.
The founder of health tech company Theranos was at one point worth $4.5 billion and hailed as a genius poised to change the healthcare industry.
After a thorough investigation, she was arrested for fraud. Her lawyers wanted her sentenced to just 18 months in prison, but the prosecution said her arrogance and failure to acknowledge wrongdoing throughout the trial merited 15 years in prison.
The judge agreed and sentenced her to 11 years in prison and was also asked to return $121 million to the investors.
Before handing down the sentence, Davila called the case “disturbing in many ways”, wondering what motivated Holmes, a “brilliant” entrepreneur, to misrepresent her business to investors.
“This is a case of fraud where an exciting undertaking has unfolded with great expectations only to be undone by untruths, misrepresentations, hubris and lies,” the judge said.
Holmes, dressed in a dark blouse and black skirt, hugged her parents and partner after the sentencing.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Holmes misrepresented Theranos’ technology and finances, including claiming that its miniaturized blood-testing machine was capable of performing a series of tests from just a few drops of blood. The company secretly relied on conventional machines from other companies to perform tests on patients, prosecutors said.
Holmes testified in her own defense, saying she believed her statements were accurate at the time.
She was convicted of four counts but acquitted of four other counts alleging she defrauded patients who paid for Theranos tests.
Theranos Inc has promised to revolutionize the way patients receive diagnoses by replacing traditional labs with small machines designed for use in homes, pharmacies and even on the battlefield.
Forbes dubbed Holmes the world’s youngest self-proclaimed female billionaire in 2014, when she was 30 and her stake in Theranos was worth $4.5 billion. Theranos collapsed after a series of Wall Street Journal articles in 2015 questioned its technology.
Actress Amanda Seyfried won an Emmy Award in September for portraying Holmes in the limited series “The Dropout.”