Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, was found guilty of cheating investors in her now-defunct blood-testing firm, which had a $9 billion valuation at the time, and a California judge sentenced her to 11 years and three months in prison.
In San Jose, California, US District Judge Edward Davila sentenced Holmes on three charges of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy. Holmes, 38, was found guilty by a jury in January after a three-month trial.
According to Al Jazeera, Holmes’s surrender was scheduled for April by the judge. Her attorneys are anticipated to ask the judge to keep her out on bail while she files an appeal.
Before the judge imposed the sentence, Assistant US Attorney Jeff Schenk said that a 15-year term would “make a statement that the aims don’t justify the means.”
However, Holmes’ attorney Kevin Downey argued at the hearing that, unlike someone who committed a “big crime,” Holmes was not driven by money.
Holmes pleaded with the judge not to make her a “martyr to public passion” in court filings, asking for a more moderate sentence of 18 months of home detention followed by community service.
Theranos’ technology and financial standing, according to the prosecution, were misrepresented throughout the trial by Holmes, who claimed that the company’s miniature blood testing device could perform a variety of tests using just a few drops of blood. Prosecutors said that the business used covertly purchased standard machines from other businesses to do patients’ tests.
Prosecutors had stated that a 15-year term was essential to dissuade Holmes and others from fraud prior to her sentencing.
Her misdeeds, according to them, “undermined the trust and integrity” that Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem depends on.
According to court documents, the federal probation agency had suggested a nine-year prison term.
Forbes dubbed Holmes the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire in 2014 when she was 30 and her stake in Theranos was worth $4.5bn.
However, the firm failed after a series of Wall Street Journal stories published in 2015 cast doubt on its technology.
Prosecutors contended that Holmes, rather than letting Theranos collapse, lied to investors about the company’s technology and finances.
In her testimony in her own defense, Holmes stated that she had thought her claims to be true at the time.
Holmes was exonerated on four counts that claimed she defrauded patients who paid for Theranos tests, despite the fact that she was found guilty on the other four.
Davila had turned down Holmes’ attempts to have her convictions overturned, stating that the evidence presented at trial supported them.
Holmes can appeal those decisions and her sentencing to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals now that the sentence has been given.