Fallen After being found guilty of deceiving investors and endangering patients in a case that became an indictment of Silicon Valley, US biotech star Elizabeth Holmes will be sentenced on Friday. In January, Holmes was found guilty on four charges for misleading investors over a 15-year period into believing she had created a ground-breaking medical gadget before the business failed as a result of a Wall Street Journal investigation.
US federal prosecutors want Holmes to serve a 15-year prison sentence and pay $800 million in reparations to investors, including the Walgreens pharmacy business, the Walton family of Walmart, and media magnate Rupert Murdoch. In a court document supporting the sentence, US attorney Stephanie Hinds claimed that the Theranos founder was “blinded by… ambition.”
When Holmes claimed that her now-defunct start-up was perfecting an easy-to-use test kit that could perform a wide range of medical diagnostics with just a few drops of blood, she shot to fame in Silicon Valley. Back then, Holmes frequently wore sombre black turtlenecks that paid homage to her idol, the late Apple pioneer Steve Jobs. She persuaded investors that her product will revolutionise medical care by displacing pricey lab tests with affordable kits.
Her assertions enabled Theranos to raise nearly $1 billion without ever making any significant profits. Holmes’s quick ascent and quick fall has been the focus of books, films, and a TV show that used her narrative to warn against the excesses of the tech industry’s blind devotion to its charismatic creator. James Mattis, a former US defence secretary, and George Shultz, a former US secretary of state, were all members of the Theranos board at one point. Holmes will appear Friday in a US court in San Jose, California’s Silicon Valley, before the same judge who presided over her protracted trial.
The 38-year-old Holmes’ attorneys have pleaded for leniency, portraying her as a loving friend who takes care of a young child and is expecting a second child. 140 letters of support were sent to the court in support of this, including ones from her family, friends, and a US senator. I am confident that Elizabeth will accomplish big things for society on the other side of this with her talents and endless enthusiasm to alter the world for the better,” one letter said. This was a very different person from the accounts given during her trial, which painted her as a crafty con artist who harassed her employees. Theranos investor and Holmes’ aunt urged the court to sentence her harshly in a letter, according to The Wall Street Journal. Given the severity of the fraud and the media coverage the case got, experts predict that Holmes will almost probably serve time in prison. She may be kept out on bond while an appeal is ongoing, according to her lawyers. According to former prosecutor Steven Clark, “the government will, I expect, battle to have her start her sentence Day 1 they want her to go to jail. The court will have a tough decision to make there. She is expecting a second child “Added he.