UNITED STATES. Texas: The disgraced entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes reported to a federal prison in Texas on Tuesday to begin serving her 11-year sentence.
Holmes, 39, was found guilty on four charges of fraud at the beginning of last year in connection with her unsuccessful blood testing start-up.
In mid-May, a court denied her request to continue to be released on bail while an appeal of the initial conviction was being examined. She will serve her sentence in a Texas minimum-security prison.
On Tuesday, Holmes reported to the federal prison in Bryan, Texas, which can house 500–700 prisoners at any given time. It is roughly 100 miles (160 km) north of Houston, where she was born and raised. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which refuses to provide any other information on her detention due to privacy concerns, acknowledged her arrival at the facility.
There, the woman who was once touted as the youngest self-made billionaire in the world might labour alongside other prisoners for between 12 cents (10p) and $1.15 (93p) an hour, much of which would go towards her legally required reparation payments.
A US judge ordered Holmes and her former business and romantic partner, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, the former CEO of Theranos, to pay $452 million to victims earlier this month. In California, Balwani is already serving a 13-year prison term for his involvement in the scheme.
Together, the pair is accused of convincing some of the richest and most illustrious investors, such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch and former US Treasury Secretary George Shultz, to support Theranos.
The business, which was reportedly worth $9 billion, boasted of having technology that could identify diseases like diabetes with just a few drops of blood. However, the technology was never functional. Finally, in 2018, the business failed.
Holmes will be imprisoned in a vast 37-acre facility in Texas. The majority of convicts there have been found guilty of low-level narcotics charges, white-collar offences, or non-violent crimes.
The facility’s handbook states that life mainly revolves around work and extracurricular activities, including foreign languages, business classes, or computer literacy.
Holmes battled hard to avoid going to jail while her legal appeal was heard by the courts. She claimed that a postponement would give her the chance to raise “substantive questions” about the case that would justify a fresh trial.
Her legal team asserted that she should be allowed to continue caring for her two young children—one who is almost two and the other who is three months old.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the prison provides areas where prisoners can conduct events and where kids can play.
Official Bureau of Prison guidelines state that moms like Holmes are permitted to breastfeed their infants and hold their children in their laps.
The picture of Holmes entering a federal prison on Tuesday should serve as a grave caution to other business leaders in Silicon Valley, where critics have long decried a “fake it until you make it” mentality.
Even still, it is uncommon to see IT executives incarcerated on accusations of fraud.
The US government hopes that Holmes’s situation will discourage executives from exaggerating their technology’s capabilities while looking for financial support.
Eileen Lepera, who lost a portion of her savings investing in Theranos, said this week that she is “glad she [Ms. Holmes] got 11 years.”
“Her hubris is beyond belief.”
“I don’t believe she’s still taking any responsibility for what has happened,” she continued.
In tearful comments before her November sentencing, Holmes expressed her contrition for her shortcomings at Theranos, saying “with every cell in my body,” but she made no admission of criminal conduct.