Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes. A judge in California, United States, handed down Elizabeth Holmes’s 11-year prison term on Friday. Holmes was a controversial Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
In January of this year, a jury convicted her guilty on all four charges brought against her by the SEC regarding her role in the Theranos scam.
With the promise of a revolutionary machine that could do any blood test in a matter of hours using only a few drops of material, Theranos was once valued at $9 billion.
On Friday, a tearful Holmes, 38, stood in court and apologized for the “deep pain” she had caused by her scheme.
Holmes founded Theranos at the age of 19 in 2003, and the company quickly became successful enough to make its creator a billionaire before she turned 31.
One of the largest American pharmacy chains, Walgreens, partnered with Holmes’s business because the price of Theranos testing was one-fourth or less than that of typical tests.
In a series of articles published at the end of 2015, The Wall Street Journal cast doubt on the accuracy of Theranos’s tests and accused the business of, among other things, artificially inflating the volume of patient blood samples.
It was also verified that Theranos transmitted the watered-down tests to conventional labs while claiming credit for the results.
As a result of these allegations, the US Department of Justice filed charges against Holmes and Ramseh “Sunny” Balwani, the former president and operations counselor of the corporation and Holmes’ ex-romantic partner.
In September of 2018, Theranos was officially shut down.
At her trial in San Jose, California, prosecutors claimed that Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes lied to doctors and patients about the effectiveness of the company’s groundbreaking “Edison machine.”
They further claimed that Holmes lied to investors about the company’s financial performance.
The jury reached its verdict after deliberating on four counts of fraud, each carrying a potential 20-year term.
However, a jury found her guilty on four additional counts, and they deadlocked on three others.
Intoxicated by Fame
Holmes apologized to Judge Edward Dávila in a few words that were read aloud during Friday’s hearing.
My failures have left me heartbroken. Since I let people down, I feel immense sorrow for their suffering.
I deeply and profoundly regret my past actions.
Reporters say the judge called Holmes “brilliant” and warned him that “to err is normal, to err for fraud is not right.”
The “intoxication with fame” he felt at the time may have had a role in his dishonesty, he wondered.
To him, Holmes served as a “cautionary story” for other Silicon Valley CEOs.
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.