Theranos: Elizabeth Holmes to begin prison sentence, children, husband, what did she do - length of punishment

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Holmes will have to turn herself in to authorities in order to start serving the term on 27 April

Elizabeth Holmes is scheduled to go to federal prison this week after numerous attempts to postpone her time behind bars were unsuccessful.

Together with her former business partner Sunny Balwani, the disgraced businesswoman was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison and compelled to pay $452 million (£365 million) to the dozens of prominent investors they deceived through a blood-testing start-up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Earlier this year, the former CEO of Theranos failed in her bid to avoid going to federal prison while fighting her conviction for the fraud she committed while in charge of a blood-testing scam that exposed Silicon Valley's shadowy side.

US District Judge Edward Davila determined in an 11-page decision that there was insufficient evidence to support Holmes's continued release on bail while her attorneys work to convince an appeals court that alleged misconduct during her four-month trial led to an unfair verdict.

Holmes will now have to begin serving the more than 11-year prison sentence Davila imposed in November 2022. The punishment came 10 months after a jury found her guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy against the Thearanos investors who believed in her promises to revolutionise the health care industry. Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is happening?

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arriving to appear in federal court for sentencing on 18 November 2022 in San Jose, California (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arriving to appear in federal court for sentencing on 18 November 2022 in San Jose, California (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arriving to appear in federal court for sentencing on 18 November 2022 in San Jose, California (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Holmes’s stint in prison is the latest twist in a long-running saga that has already been the subject of an acclaimed HBO documentary and an award-winning Hulu TV series available through Disney Plus in the UK.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At its peak, Holmes’ Theranos company was valued at $9 billion (£7.2 billion), and promised to revolutionise the medical industry by developing a device that could perform a wide range of blood tests using just a few drops of blood obtained from a finger prick, rather than the traditional method of drawing blood from a vein.

The claims helped the company become a Silicon Valley sensation that raised nearly one billion US dollars (£810 million) from investors - including high-profile names like Rupert Murdoch. At one point Holmes was anointed with a $4.5 billion (£3.62 billion) personal fortune, based on her 50% stake in Theranos.

However, after investigations by journalists and regulators, it was revealed that Theranos’s technology never came close to working like Holmes and business partner Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani boasted, resulting in the company’s scandalous collapse and a criminal case that shined a bright light on Silicon Valley greed and hubris.

How long will she be in prison?

Holmes’ prison sentence is scheduled to start roughly 20 years after she dropped out of Stanford University when she was 19 years old to start Theranos in Palo Alto, California – the same city where William Hewlett and David Packard founded a company bearing their surnames in a small garage and planted the seeds of what grew into Silicon Valley.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In November 2022 she was sentenced to 11.25 years behind bars, a stint in prison that could see her not released until mid-2034. By that time, Holmes will be 50-years old. Although they had separate trials, Holmes and Balwani were accused of essentially the same crimes.

Where will she go to prison?

At a judge's recommendation, Holmes is to report to the Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, where all prisoners are required to work and are paid between 12 cents and $1.15 per hour. Her victims will receive half of the meagre income she receives, which is typically $25 (£20.23) every four months.

That's because convicted offenders are occasionally be required to pay restitution in US federal court, a payment made to victims to cover lost wages, property damage, medical expenditures, and other costs associated with the crime.

In Holmes' situation, she has been ordered to reimburse some of the richest American families, but the former billionaire has stated that she does not even have enough money to pay her laqyers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Holmes will be separated from the two children she had leading up to the trial and after her conviction. Her first child, a boy, was born shortly before her trial began in September 2021.

The youngest child, whose gender has not been disclosed in court documents, was born at some point after her November sentencing. She conceived both with her current partner, William “Billy” Evans, whom she met after breaking up with Balwani in the midst of Theranos’s scandalous downfall.

From our sister title PeopleWorld: Who is Elizabeth Holmes and her husband Billy Evans?

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.