38-year-old Elizabeth Holmes, who was once described by Forbes as one of the richest Selfmade billionaires in America, has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison for fraud. Despite being currently pregnant with her second child.
A federal judge on Friday November 18, jailed theTheranos founder for defrauding investors in her now-defunct blood-testing startup that was once valued at $9 billion.
The founder of health technology company, Theranos, was at a point worth $4.5billion and hailed as a genius on the verge of changing the health sector.
She has since been exposed as a fraudster who deceived Silicon Valley investors, including media mogul, Rupert Murdock, into funding her start up with false promises. Her company gained worldwide recognition in 2013 after she claimed she had invented a revolutionary blood testing kit that only required small amounts of blood and performed accurate results in as little as 20 minutes.
Turns out it was all lies and her company was a hoax used to swindle investors, according to prosecutors in her trial. She was reported to the FBI by some investors after she failed to show what their money had been used for.
After a thorough investigation, she was arrested for fraud. Her attorneys had wanted her to get only 18 months in prison but prosecution said her arrogance and lack of acknowledgement of wrongdoing through out the trial deserved 15 years in prison.
The judge agreed and sentenced her to 11 years in prison and she was also asked to return $121million to investors.
Before handing down the sentence, Davila called the case “troubling on so many levels,” questioning what motivated Holmes, a “brilliant” entrepreneur, to misrepresent her company to investors.
“This is a fraud case where an exciting venture went forward with great expectations only to be dashed by untruths, misrepresentations, plain hubris and lies,” the judge said.
Holmes, dressed in a dark blouse and black skirt, hugged her parents and her partner after the sentence was handed down.
Prosecutors said during the trial that Holmes misrepresented Theranos’ technology and finances, including by claiming that its miniaturized 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.
Holmes testified in her own defense, saying she believed her statements were accurate at the time.
She was convicted on four counts but acquitted on four other counts alleging she defrauded patients who paid for Theranos tests.
Theranos Inc promised to revolutionize 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 $4.5 billion. Theranos collapsed after a series of Wall Street Journal articles in 2015 questioned its technology.
Actress Amanda Seyfried in September won an Emmy Award for portraying Holmes in the limited series “The Dropout.”