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Rise and Fall of billionaire Bizwoman: Elizabeth Holmes awarded 11 years jail term for financial fraud

This is the story of a sudden rise and fall of a billionaire US businesswoman

Elizabeth Holmes, a US businesswoman, has been awarded 11 years jail for fraud with investors.

A California judge has sentenced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to 11 years and three months in prison for defrauding investors in her now-defunct blood-testing startup that was once valued at $9 billion.

US District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, sentenced Holmes on three counts of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy. A jury convinced Ezlizabeth, 38, in January 2022, following a three-month trial, Al-Jazeera reported today.

The judge set Holmes’s surrender date for April. Her lawyers are expected to ask the judge to allow her to remain free on bail during her appeal.

Assistant US Attorney Jeff Schenk told the judge before he handed down the sentence that a 15-year sentence would be “making a statement that the ends don’t justify the means”.

But Holmes’ lawyer Kevin Downey urged leniency for Holmes at the hearing, saying that unlike someone who committed a “great crime”, she was not motivated by greed.

Holmes had asked in court papers for a more lenient sentence of 18 months of home confinement, followed by community service, urging the judge not to make her a “martyr to public passion”.

Prosecutors said at trial that Holmes misrepresented Theranos’s technology and finances, including by claiming that its miniaturised blood testing machine was able to run an array of tests from a few drops of blood. The company secretly relied on conventional machines from other companies to run patients’ tests, prosecutors said.

Ahead of her sentencing, prosecutors had said a 15-year sentence was necessary to deter Holmes and others from fraud.

Her crimes “damaged the trust and integrity” on which Silicon Valley’s startup economy relies, they said.

The federal probation office had recommended a nine-year prison sentence, according to court papers.

Once valued at $9bn, Theranos Inc promised to revolutionise how patients receive diagnoses by replacing traditional labs with small machines envisioned for use in homes, drugstores and even on the battlefield.

Forbes dubbed Holmes the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire in 2014 when she was 30 and her stake in Theranos was worth $4.5bn. But the startup collapsed after a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal in 2015 questioned its technology. Courtesy: Al-Jazeera.com

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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