Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of the failed blood-testing startup Theranos, on Friday was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for defrauding investors.
The sentence ends a years-long saga that raised questions about Silicon Valley’s “move fast and break things” culture, particularly as it relates to healthcare.
Holmes, 38, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud in January. She faced up to 20 years in prison, and her defense team argued she should be given a maximum sentence of 18 months. Prosecutors aimed to sentence her to 15 years in prison.
Federal Judge Edward Davila said he will also determine how much money Holmes has to pay to investors, if any.
Holmes gave birth to her first child in 2021, and she’s currently pregnant with her second.
Theranos was launched in 2003 by a then 19-year-old Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford University. The company racked up huge numbers of investor dollars on the promise its technology could perform a number of tests using a drop of blood and inked deals with industry giants like Walgreens.
In 2015, The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou began a series of investigative articles on the problems with Theranos, revealing the company’s technology was frequently inaccurate and it relied on traditional machines for many of its tests. The company shut down about three years later.
In July, former Theranos COO and president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who is also Holmes’ ex-boyfriend, was found guilty on all 12 charges he faced, including 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Balwani is set to be sentenced on Dec. 7.
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