Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes begins prison sentence in Texas

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Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has begun her prison sentence in Texas.

Holmes, 39, is due to spend the next 11 years behind bars for overseeing an infamous blood-testing hoax.

She entered the federal women’s prison camp located in Bryan, Texas on Tuesday, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The prison camp is a minimum-security facility that houses about 650 women, considered the lowest security risk.

Prison camps also often have minimal staffing and many of the people incarcerated there work at prison jobs.

Last year, a jury convicted Holmes on four felony counts of fraud and conspiracy. She was sentenced to prison time in November.

Holmes, had been free on bail, living in the San Diego area.

She was put under investigation in 2017 for the collapse of Theranos, a startup she founded after dropping out of Stanford University when she was just 19.

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes begins serving her prison sentence
Holmes begins serving her prison sentence

Holmes became a Silicon Valley sensation when she promised that Theranos would revolutionise health care, thanks to a technology that could quickly scan for diseases and other problems with a few drops of blood taken with a finger prick.

Forbes dubbed Holmes the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire in 2014, when she was 30 and her stake in Theranos was worth $4.5bn.

Theranos raised nearly $1bn from investors, but it all blew up after The Wall Street Journal published a series of articles exposing serious flaws in Theranos’ technology.

Read more:
Elizabeth Holmes’s former partner Ramesh Balwani jailed
How Theranos founder went from billionaire darling of Silicon Valley to behind bars

While she was building up Theranos, Holmes grew closer to Ramesh, ‘Sunny’ Balwani, who would become her romantic partner as well as an investor and fellow executive in the Palo Alto, California, company.

Holmes and Balwani, who had been secretly living together while running Theranos, broke up after the Journal’s revelations and the company collapsed.

In 2018, the US Justice Department charged both with a litany of white-collar crimes in a case aimed at putting a stop to the Silicon Valley practice of overselling the capabilities of a still-developing technology – a technique that became known as “fake it ’til you make it”.

Holmes at federal court in San Jose, California last October. Pic: AP
Holmes at federal court in San Jose, California last October. Pic: AP

Holmes admitted making mistakes at Theranos, but steadfastly denied committing crimes during seven days of testimony on the witness stand during her trial.

As she begins her sentence, Holmes leaves behind two young children – a son born in July 2021 a few weeks before the start of her trial and a three-month old daughter who was conceived after a jury convicted her on three counts of investor fraud and one count of conspiracy in last January.

Holmes met the children’s father, William ‘Billy’ Evans, in 2017 around the same time she was under investigation for the collapse of Theranos.

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