Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been sentenced to more than 11 years in US federal prison for defrauding investors and endangering patients while peddling fake blood test technology.
The 38-year-old man was convicted by a California jury on three counts of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy in January. She was imprisoned for 135 months.
Prosecutors were also seeking $804m (£675m) in compensation from Holmes.
The amount covers the bulk of the nearly $1bn (£840m) it raised from a list of sophisticated investors that included software mogul Larry Ellison, media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the Walton family behind Walmart.
Prosecutors had ranked Holmes’ crimes “among the most significant white-collar offenses Silicon Valley or any other district has ever seen.”
His legal team had urged the judge to be lenient and not make their client a “martyr of public passion”.
The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila was shorter than the 15-year sentence sought by federal prosecutors, but far harsher than the leniency his legal team sought for the mother of a one-year-old son with another child on the way.
The judge said Theranos used “misrepresentation, hubris and plain lies”.
Prosecutors said Holmes misrepresented Theranos’ technology and finances, including claiming its miniaturized blood-testing machine was capable of performing a series of tests from just a few drops of blood.
The company secretly relied on conventional machines from other companies to perform tests on patients, prosecutors said.
The Remarkable Rise and Dramatic Fall of Holmes have been the subject of a documentary and an award-winning television series.
Once valued at $9bn (£7.5bn), the now defunct Theranos Inc promised to revolutionize the way patients received diagnoses by replacing traditional labs with small machines designed for use at home, in pharmacies and even on the battlefield.
Forbes dubbed Holmes the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire in 2014, when she was 30 and her stake in Theranos was worth $4.5bn (£3.8bn).
But the startup collapsed after a series of articles in The Wall Street Journal in 2015 questioned its technology.
At trial, prosecutors said Holmes engaged in fraud by lying to investors about Theranos’ technology and finances rather than letting the company fail.
Holmes testified in her own defense, saying she believed her statements were accurate at the time.
“I played for the fool”
Although she was convicted on three counts, Holmes was acquitted of four other counts alleging she defrauded patients, who paid for Theranos tests.
The judge handling the case, Edward Davila, previously rejected Holmes’ requests to overturn his convictions, saying they were supported by the evidence at trial.
After his conviction, Holmes can appeal.
While wooing investors, Holmes put together a very powerful Theranos board that included former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who testified against her at her trial, and two former secretaries of state. Americans, Henry Kissinger and the late George Shultz, whose son submitted a statement criticizing Holmes for fabricating a scheme that played Shultz “for the fool”.
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