Elizabeth Holmes Has Officially Started Her 11-Year Prison Sentence
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After a judge sentenced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to 11 years and three months in prison after she was found guilty of wire fraud and conspiring to commit wire fraud in November 18, 2022, the health tech startup founder finally reported to prison today. Once Holmes serves her sentence, she will have three years of supervised release, according to NBC Bay Area.
Previously, Holmes filed a request to delay her prison start date while her appeal unfolded, but U.S. District Judge Edward Davila said that there wasn't enough compelling evidence to let her remain free on bail "while her lawyers try to persuade an appeals court that alleged misconduct during her four-month trial led to an unjust verdict," per the Seattle Times. Holmes, 39, was set to report to prison on April 27, but a last-minute appeal stalled her surrender date a second time. A judge then ruled that she had to surrender by May 30 after a court rejected her bid to remain free during her appeal, per The Washington Post.
Now that Holmes is officially in prison, everyone is wondering what she's been up to and what's in store for her. Here’s everything to know:
Who is Elizabeth Holmes?
Elizabeth Holmes is the founder and former CEO of Theranos. Holmes enrolled at Stanford University before she dropped out during her sophomore year at just 19 to focus on building and launching her company.
According to Business Insider, she told relatives that she was determined to be a billionaire when she grew up. (Spoiler alert: She achieved her goal for a hot second.) In 2015, Forbes named her the world's youngest self-made billionaire. But as questions of fraud began popping up around her company, Forbes later revised her estimated net worth, putting it at almost zero.
What was Theranos?
Theranos was a health technology startup company that aimed to make blood testing more efficient. It claimed to be able to run over 200 medical tests on a single drop of blood using a machine that Holmes called the Edison device, according to ABC News.
The idea was that people in need of a blood test would simply prick their fingers to get results that would normally require a much larger blood sample. The company made big claims about how well it worked, which helped bring in lots of big name investors, including Google co-founder Larry Ellison (per Good To Know), health care investor Brian Grossman, and former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, all of whom poured money into Holmes' business—to the tune of $945 million, according to Yahoo.
Why did Elizabeth Holmes go on trial?
The success of her company didn’t last long. The device did not function the way Holmes claimed it did. And, it hadn’t been endorsed by big companies such as Pfizer, despite the company's claims to the contrary.
By 2013, Theranos was worth $10 billion and had partnered with Walgreens to launch in-store blood collection centers. The company was also working with Cleveland Clinic, Capital BlueCross, and AmeriHealth Caritas, Entertainment Tonight.
As a result, Holmes was charged with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On January 3, 2022, after at least four delayed court dates throughout 2021, she was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, per Insider
Will Elizabeth Holmes go to jail?
Yes, Holmes is just arrived at prison after the judge at her sentencing ordered she serve 11 years and three months in prison on November 18, 2022, NBC reported. BTW, each fraud count carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Holmes officially began her sentence on May 30, at F.P.C. Bryan in Texas, per Business Insider. While attempts to file appeals have failed so far, she has not exhausted her options, per NPR, and could technically appeal her case up to the Supreme Court (but that is highly unlikely).
Where is she serving her prison time?
Court filings show that Elizabeth Holmes will be serving her time at a prison camp in Bryan, Texas, according to Business Insider. Currently, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's Jen Shah is also serving time at Camp Bryan after being found guilty of running a telemarketing scheme that specifically targeted the elderly.
The prison is only for female inmates, and since it's a prison camp, this means it is "work- and program-oriented" and Holmes would likely be live in a dorm. The Wall Street Journal reported that many inmates are released early from the facility for good conduct and participation in prison programs, so Holmes could be released before her 11 years are finished.
Did Elizabeth Holmes have another baby?
Yes, Holmes was visibly pregnant in court last fall, and she wore the same outfit she wore to court while pregnant with her first son, William, who was born in July of 2021. On November 17, The New York Times reported that court fillings said she was, in fact, pregnant again.
Holmes had her first child with her husband William "Billy" Evans in 2021. And in a New York Times profile, Elizabeth revealed that she'd given birth to a girl in February of 2023, named Invicta (Latin for "invincible").
The Holmes-Evans crew lives in California.
Another court filing shows she bought a one-way ticket to Mexico.
The filing says that she and her husband bought the tickets in January of 2022, according to BBC, which the prosecution called an “attempt to flee the country.” However, an email from her attorneys, included in the filing, claims Holmes booked the ticket ahead of her verdict to attend a friend's wedding, per CNN.
A federal prosecutor wants her to give $900 million to investors.
The prosecutor, Robert Leach, argued her conviction and said she should pay $900 million to Theranos investors, per the Associated Press. “Just to apply common sense, the money these investors lost is the money they put in,” he said, the outlet reported.
However, her lawyer said that the prosecutors shouldn't be pursuing an "all or nothing" sum, per the AP. He also pointed out that the jury didn't reach a verdict on three counts of investor fraud, which were later dismissed.
Where is she now?
She's in prison in Texas. Before her sentencing, Holmes was living free on bond and living in her $135 million Silicon Valley estate, per CNBC. She got married to William "Billy" Evans, an heir to the Evans Hotel Group, in 2019, and they quickly got busy building their family together.
Court filings said she was paying around $13,000 a month to live on an estate before heading to prison, per BBC. She remains free while her latest last-minute appeal is considered.
Her ex-boyfriend and the president of Theranos, Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison on December 7, 2022, per The Washington Post. He reported to a Southern California prison on April 20, the Seattle Times said.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Theranos founder as she begins her prison sentence.
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