Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of failed blood testing startup Theranoswas sentenced Friday to more than 11 years in prison for defrauding investors.
The sentence ends a years-long saga that has raised questions about Silicon Valley’s “move fast and break things” culture, particularly as it relates to healthcare.
Holmes, 38, was sentenced 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 that she should receive a maximum sentence of 18 months. Prosecutors were aiming to sentence her to 15 years in prison.
Federal Judge Edward Davila said he would also determine how much money Holmes must pay investors, if any.
Holmes gave birth to her first child in 2021 and she is currently pregnant with her second.
Theranos was started in 2003 by then 19-year-old Holmes, who dropped out of Stanford University. The company has accumulated huge amounts of investor dollars on the promise that its technology could perform a number of tests using a drop of blood and signed deals with industry giants like Walgreens.
In 2015, The Wall Street Journal John Carreyrou started a series of investigative articles about issues with Theranos, revealing that the company’s technology was often inaccurate and that it relied on traditional machines for many of its tests. The company close about three years later.
In July, former Theranos COO and Chairman Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who is also Holmes’ ex-boyfriend, was guilty of the 12 counts he faced, including 10 counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Balwani is ready to be condemned December 7.