Seven years on from the exposure of her company Theranos’s dubious scientific claims, Elizabeth Holmes finally received a sentence of 11 years and three months in jail at a San Jose courthouse on November 18. The disgraced CEO, who raised nearly a billion dollars for her Silicon Valley start-up after dropping out of Stanford aged 19, was convicted of four counts of wire fraud back in January. Judge Edward J. Davila also ruled that Holmes would be supervised for three years following her release from prison.
According to federal guidelines, Holmes’s crimes are punishable by up to 20 years of incarceration, but many had expected the 38-year-old to receive a far lighter sentence, with her lawyers pushing for just 18 months of house arrest. Prosecutors, however, argued for 15 years of jail time, along with $804 million in damages for investors, pointing out that a harsher sentence in such a high-profile case could help “deter future start-up fraud schemes.”
Holmes, who is currently pregnant with her second child, is expected to give birth before surrendering to custody on April 27 to begin serving time. “I am devastated by my failings,” she told the court, where her partner Billy Evans, with whom she shares a one-year-old son, and family had come to show their support. “I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them.” After apologizing to her investors, patients and employees, she closed her statement with a questionable Rumi quote: “Yesterday I tried to change the world. Today I’m wise, and want to change myself.”