Former biotech entrepreneur and media darling Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced on Friday to 11 years in prison after tricking investors into believing she had revolutionized blood testing.
Holmes — who ran the fraudulent biotechnology company Theranos — formally received 135 months in prison. The Department of Justice had requested that the disgraced founder receive 15 years in prison and be forced to pay $800 million in restitution.
“Considering the extensiveness of Holmes’ fraud … the sentencing of 180 months’ imprisonment would reflect the seriousness of the offenses, provide for just punishment for the offenses, and deter Holmes and others,” federal prosecutors stated.
Holmes, who is currently pregnant with her second child, was convicted on four counts of wire fraud back in January following a months-long trial. She has 14 days to appeal her conviction, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Holmes’ downfall comes after she deceived investors into believing her company’s portable blood analyzer could conduct comprehensive blood tests with mere drops of blood. Her now-fallen empire once secured a $9 billion valuation, and in 2014, she was touted by Forbes as the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire.
Elizabeth Holmes has a net worth of $4.5 billion. Meet the newcomers to the #Forbes400: http://t.co/9UohMWomrv pic.twitter.com/v9GR9HnAGM
— Forbes (@Forbes) September 30, 2014
As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed to attract several prominent political and business leaders to back her firm — including former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Holmes also had close ties to the Clinton family and hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
At trial, Holmes’ legal team argued that “she was merely a young, naïve, ambitious founder who relied too much on others who gave her bad advice,” and claimed she lacked experience, according to The New York Times. Holmes also attempted to accuse her ex-boyfriend and Theranos’ ex-president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of abuse; however, the couples’ text messages seemed to depict a loving relationship.
Ben Zeisloft contributed to this report.