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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to more than 11 years in prison

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (C) arrives at federal court with her partner Billy Evans (R) and mother Noel Holmes on November 18, 2022 in San Jose, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced Friday to more than 11 years in prison for fraud after deceiving investors about the purported efficacy of her company’s blood-testing technology.

The court found she deceived investors, including News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch and a host of other luminaries, about the efficacy of Theranos’ blood-testing technology.

Holmes was convicted in January in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Holmes cried while speaking to the court ahead of her sentencing.

“I loved Theranos. It was my life’s work,” Holmes said. “My team meant the world to me. I am devastated by my failings. I’m so so sorry. I gave everything I had to build my company.”

Her defense team argued she should face a maximum sentence of 18 months, according to court filings.

The Wall Street Journal first broke the story of how Theranos’ blood-testing technology was struggling to meet expectations in 2015. Whistleblowers and other witnesses came forth to provide detailed accounts of how Holmes and former operating chief Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani deceived patients, partners, investors and employees about the company’s progress and the capabilities of its technology.

“Thank you for having me. Thank you for the courtesy and respect you have shown me,” she said Friday. “I have felt deep pain for what people went through because I failed them. To investors, patients, I am sorry.”

Prosecutors sought a 15 year sentence for the pregnant 38-year-old former billionaire and Silicon Valley celebrity.

In July, Balwani was found guilty of 12 criminal fraud charges. His sentencing is set for next month.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila handed down the sentence. Davila presided over Holmes’ fraud trial.

The erstwhile billionaire had attempted to move for a new trial after a former employee appeared at her doorstep in August to speak with her. Holmes’ partner, Billy Evans, told the court that the former employee made remorseful remarks at their shared residence.

But that employee, Adam Rosendorff, told the court that his remarks were due to distress at the thought of a child spending time without their mother. The Theranos founder gave birth in July to her first child, and is expecting another.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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