Fallen US biotech star, Elizabeth Holmes is set to report to prison today to begin her 11-year sentence for defrauding investors with her Silicon Valley startup firm Theranos. According toBBC, the entrepreneur was sentenced to over 11 years in prison and also ordered to pay $452m with her former business partner Ramesh Sunny Balwani to dozens of high-profile investors they defrauded.
39-year-old Holmes, the mother of two, is expected to report to the prison camp in Bryan, Texas, an all-female facility about 100 miles outside of Houston, today.
Her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos COO Ramesh Sunny Balwani was also convicted of fraud and reported to prison in California last month to begin serving out his sentence, as per CNN.
Experts told BBC, that she will not be able to just declare bankruptcy and shed her debts that way. Prosecutors have probably already begun to seize her assets, including money in the bank and properties.
The Theranos founder was convicted on four counts in January 2022 for persuading investors over 15 years that she had developed a revolutionary medical device before the company flamed out after an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.
Notably, the company attracted investments from high-profile moguls, including Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family, and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. She was even hailed as the next tech visionary on magazine covers and collected mountains of investors’ cash, but it all collapsed after Wall Street Journal reporting revealed the machines did not work as promised.
Prosecutors said she lied to investors from 2010 to 2015 by promising Theranos Inc’s technology could run many tests on one drop of blood from a finger prick. Theranos ultimately dissolved in September 2018. She has been asked to pay Rupert Murdoch the entire $125m he invested in her failed start-up.
Ms. Holmes had pleaded not guilty to charges that she lied about Theranos and said the firm’s lab directors were in charge of test quality. Before her sentencing was announced in November 2022, she apologised to the employees, investors, and patients of Theranos.
”I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work. The people I tried to get involved with Theranos were the people I loved and respected the most. I am devastated by my failings. I’m so, so sorry. I gave everything I had to build our company and to save our company. I regret my failings with every cell in my body.”
Ms. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 at the age of 19. The company was once valued at $9 billion, and Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at $4.5 billion in 2015.
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