A California judge recommended that disgraced biotech entrepreneur and media darling Elizabeth Holmes, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison earlier this month, serve her time in a minimum-security federal prison camp.
Holmes — who ran the fraudulent biotechnology company Theranos — received 135 months in prison after defrauding investors into believing she had revolutionized blood testing.
Judge Edward Davila of the Northern District of California recommended she serve her sentence at Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, which defense attorneys described as “heaven” compared to other prisons.
Criminal defense attorney Alan Ellis told Bloomberg that if Holmes serves her sentence at the facility, she will face “no walls, no bars, no fences.”
“No one wants to get … kicked out because compared to other places in the prison system, this place is heaven,” Ellis said. “If you have to go, it’s a good place to go.”
Located about 100 miles northwest of Houston, the prison camp sits on 37 acres of Texas land with about 900 non-violent female inmates serving time for various frauds in dormitory-style housing with a low staff-to-inmate ratio. While serving her time, Holmes has access to games, sports, physical fitness, table games, hobby crafts, music programs, intramural activities, social and cultural organizations, and movies, according to the prison’s handbook.
Holmes, who has a 1-year-old son and is currently pregnant with her second child with her partner William Evans, was convicted on four counts of wire fraud in January following a months-long trial.
Judge Davila recommended Holmes serve at the prison camp in his filing because “the Court finds that family visitation enhances rehabilitation.”
As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed to attract 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.
During her 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,” claiming she lacked experience.
Holmes also attempted to accuse her ex-boyfriend and Theranos’ ex-president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of abuse. However, the couple’s text messages seemed to depict a loving relationship.
According to the New York Post, Bureau of Prisons officials will decide where Holmes serves her time.
The Department of Justice had requested that the disgraced Theranos founder receive 15 years in prison and pay $800 million in restitution to investors like software magnate Larry Ellison and Walmart founders the Walton family.
Holmes is expected to start her incarceration on April 27, 2023.
Ben Zeisloft and Eric Quintanar contributed to this report.