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Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes begins prison sentence

The Theranos founder and convicted fraudster is being held at a minimum security women's prison in the US state of Texas

Deutsche Welle Published 31.05.23, 11:12 AM
Elizabeth Holmes was taken to the FPC Bryan prison in Texas

Elizabeth Holmes was taken to the FPC Bryan prison in Texas Deutsche Welle

Elizabeth Holmes, the fraudster behind failed biotech startup Theranos, has entered a Texas prison where she could spend the next 11 years.

"We can confirm Elizabeth Holmes has arrived at the Federal Prison Camp Bryan... and is in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons," officials said in a statement.


Holmes leaves behind two children in the outside world: a son who was born a few weeks before her trial started in 2021, and a 3-month-old daughter who was conceived after a jury convicted her on four felony counts of fraud and conspiracy in January 2022.

Where is Elizabeth Holmes being held?

FPC Bryan is a minimum security prison outside Houston, where Holmes grew up.

According to The Wall Street Journal, most inmates at the facility were convicted of white-collar crimes, low-level drug offenses, or harboring illegal immigrants.

Holmes could share a cell with up to three other inmates.

Who is Elizabeth Holmes?

Holmes became a star of Silicon Valley when she founded Theranos at the age of 19.

The company claimed to have developed rapid, automated blood tests that could diagnose numerous medical conditions.

As Theranos grew, the fraudster took on a new persona, speaking in a distinctive baritone and wearing black turtlenecks.

Holmes attracted top investors like media baron Rupert Murdoch, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and pharmacy chain Walgreens. She also stacked the company's board with high-profile names including former Presidential cabinet members George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and James Mattis.

Businessman Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani joined Theranos as its president in 2009 and would go on to have a secret relationship with Holmes.

By 2014, Holmes' fortune was valued at $4.5 billion (€4.2 billion).

But the company collapsed after a 2015 Wall Street Journal investigation found that the technology did not exist and that patients may have received inaccurate results.

In 2018, the US Justice Department then charged Holmes and Balwani with a litany of white-collar crimes.

Holmes admitted making mistakes at Theranos, but denied committing any crimes and said she was being controlled by Balwani, who she accused of sexually and emotionally abusing her.

Balwani was convicted on 12 felony counts of fraud and conspiracy in a trial that began two months after Holmes' ended. He is currently serving a nearly 13-year sentence in a Southern California prison.

Both have been ordered to pay back $452 million to investors.

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