Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of Theranos Inc., was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison over the massive fraud scheme she orchestrated.
Holmes was celebrated as a genius in the media after she claimed that she had created technology that would be able to test for dozens of health issues from just a few drops of blood. She was able to swindle investors out of hundreds of millions on the promise that her device would revolutionize blood testing, but the scam imploded in 2015.
She issued an apology in a statement before she was sentenced.
“I’m so, so sorry. I gave everything I had to build our company and to save our company,” Holmes said. “I regret my failings with every cell in my body.”
Prosecutors asked for 15 years of imprisonment based on the massive financial fraud involved and in order to deter other tech fraud schemes. Holmes’ defense attorneys argued for no prison time, saying that she had been unfairly smeared by the media, including in podcasts and television shows documenting the case. They argued that home confinement was a more appropriate sentence.
“The tragedy of this case is that Ms. Holmes is brilliant,” said U.S. District Judge Edward Davila before issuing the sentence.
Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 when she was only 19 years old after dropping out of Stanford University and was praised as a brilliant innovator and entrepreneur. She was once touted as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
She will start her sentence in April. She is pregnant with a second child. She also has to serve three years of supervision after she finishes her prison sentence.
Judge Davila was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2011.
Here’s more about the Theranos fraud:
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to be sentenced in fraud trial