Elizabeth Holmes, founder of failed blood-testing startup, to be jailed 11 years & 3 months

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Lean Jinghui | November 19, 2022, 02:04 PM

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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, 38, has been sentenced to 11 years and three months in jail on Friday (Nov. 18), Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

She has 14 days to appeal her conviction.

For the uninitiated, Holmes story was a scandal that shocked Silicon Valley after it was found that she had defrauded investors for years to fund her now-defunct blood-testing startup.

The company, Theranos, was once valued at US$9 billion (S$12 billion) and was touted as having brought about a revolution in the diagnosis of diseases.

It claimed that it had developed technology that was able to run a vast array of blood tests from just a few drops of blood, when existing technology typically requires one vial of blood for each diagnostic test conducted, shared Pan Macmillan, an international publisher.

"Deep shame"

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, sentenced Holmes on three counts of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy on Nov. 18, according to Reuters.

Holmes had earlier been convicted in January 2021, following a trial that spanned three months.

The prosecution had recommended a jail sentence of 15 years, while the defence had urged the judge to impose no prison time.

According to NBC News, Holmes told the court prior to her sentencing that she regrets her failings with "every cell of her body".

She also quoted a poem: “Yesterday I tried to change the world. Today I’m wise, and want to change myself.”

In his sentencing, Judge Edward Davila said the case was troubling on many levels, and added:

"What went wrong? This is sad because Ms. Holmes is brilliant.”

He set a deadline for Holmes to surrender to authorities on Apr. 27, 2023.

Background on Holmes

Holmes is the founder and CEO of Theranos, and had famously dropped out of Stanford to found the company using her tuition money.

She was dubbed by Forbes as the "world's youngest female self-made billionaire" in 2014, when she was 30 and her stake in Theranos was worth US$4.5 billion.

Theranos subsequently collapsed after a series of WSJ articles in 2015 questioned its technology.

Her story was later covered in an award-winning book by WSJ  journalist John Carreyrou, titled "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup".

Actress Amanda Seyfried won an Emmy Award in September 2022 for portraying Holmes in the limited series "The Dropout."

Top screenshot via Wall Street Journal/YouTube