All About the Disgraced Tech Founder's Life in Prison? Where Is Elizabeth Holmes Now

Elizabeth Holmes made history as the founder of Theranos, becoming one of Forbes' richest women in America in 2014 thanks to her blood-testing startup

Published Time: 08.05.2024 - 17:31:04 Modified Time: 08.05.2024 - 17:31:04

Elizabeth Holmes made history as the founder of Theranos, becoming one of Forbes' richest women in America in 2014 thanks to her blood-testing startup. With her uniform of black turtlenecks, her trademark borderline-baritone voice and charisma, Holmes captivated the world with her goal to make healthcare more accessible for all.

Behind the flowery language and Issey Miyake uniform, however, the emperor didn't actually have any clothes: Holmes went from famous to infamous after a Wall Street Journal exposé revealed that her testing devices didn't actually work.

Charged with fraud and disgraced in Silicon Valley, Holmes' story was chronicled in the 2018 book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup and dramatized in the 2022 Hulu miniseries The Dropout based on the podcast of the same name and starring Amanda Seyfried.

She was ultimately convicted of wire fraud and is currently serving an 11-year sentence in federal prison. Now a mother of two, here's everything to know about Elizabeth Holmes' life today and the Silicon Valley scandal that launched her legal troubles.

Holmes was born on Feb. 3, 1984, in Washington, D.C., to mother Noel Anne Daoust, a Congressional committee staffer, and Enron executive father Christian Holmes. She was primarily raised in Houston.

Holmes did well academically and enrolled at Stanford University as a chemical engineering major in 2001. She dropped out of college in March 2004 after working at the Genome Institute of Singapore the previous summer, saying she wanted to start her own business.

That business became Theranos, which aimed to revolutionize blood testing with its Edison device. Holmes and Theranos claimed that their technology could perform comprehensive tests with just drops of blood instead of full vials like traditional blood testing. Theranos inked a deal with Walgreens to have their blood testing devices in stores, and the FDA approved Theranos for herpes testing.

Holmes' enthusiasm and drive earned her Silicon Valley stardom, and she became famous for wearing a uniform of black turtlenecks, as well as for her trademark deep voice. Theranos boasted high-profile investors such as Rupert Murdoch, former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the Walton family and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison. The company's board of directors included former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State, Treasury and Labor George Shultz and former Secretaries of Defense Bill Perry and James Mattis.

By fall 2014, Theranos was valued at $9 billion and Forbes reported that Holmes was one of the wealthiest women in the United States thanks to her 50% stake in the company.

Despite all of the hype around Theranos, the company's technology, including The Edison, simply didn't work. In October 2015, The Wall Street Journal journalist John Carreyrou reported that Theranos lied about the success of its blood testing devices and used outside machines to actually perform the bulk of what they claimed were their own blood tests.

A day after the article was published, Theranos ceased using its blood collection vials amid pressure from the FDA, per The Wall Street Journal, save for its previously FDA-approved herpes test. Later that month, the FDA called Theranos' trademark tiny vials "uncleared medical devices."

Holmes initially denied the original Wall Street Journal article's claims, asserting on Mad Money, "This is what happens when you work to change things, first they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world."

A month after the report, a proposed contract between Theranos and Safeway was canceled, and by December 2016, more reports emerged about Theranos' testing failures and non-compliance with health and safety regulations.

In January 2016, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) claimed Theranos' lab in Newark, Calif., failed to meet safety regulations in five different areas and potentially posed "immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety," according to CNN. In June, Walgreens announced th -

at all Theranos Wellness Centers in its stores would cease operations and that their partnership with the startup was over. The FDA banned Theranos from using their trademark Nanotainer blood containers in June 2016. That July, The Wall Street Journal reported that CMS banned Holmes from owning or operating any blood testing centers for two years.

The state of Arizona sued Theranos in 2017 for customer refunds for blood tests.

In June 2018, Holmes and former Theranos president (and Holmes' former boyfriend) Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani were each charged with 11 counts of fraud (nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud), CNN reported. The pair were accused of lying to investors about the efficacy of Theranos' blood testing technology as well as of using falsifed documents, overstating the company's financial success and faking demonstrations to secure funding from investors — despite Balwani and Holmes reportedly knowing that their machines had issues with "accuracy and reliability" and couldn't actually compete with existing blood testing machines already on the market.

Holmes stepped down as CEO of Theranos ahead of the indictment's announcement, and Theranos dissolved later that year. Holmes pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.

Holmes' trial, which was originally scheduled for mid-2020, faced significant delays, including a juror having to travel, a COVID-19 scare, technology issues in the courtroom and Holmes' own pregnancy, per The New York Times. (She and her husband, Billy Evans, welcomed their first child, son William, in July 2021.)

Her trial began in late 2021, during which she alleged that Balwani was abusive, manipulative and controlling, pinning much of the failures of Theranos on her ex for clouding her judgment.

In January 2022, a jury convicted Holmes of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was found not guilty of four counts of fraud and the jury was hung on the remaining three counts.

In November 2022, Judge Edward Davila sentenced Holmes to 11 years and three months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

It was four years less than the 15 years prosecutors requested and significantly longer than the 18 months, plus probation and community service, that Holmes' defense team urged the judge to consider. More than 100 people wrote to Judge Davila asking for leniency for Holmes, including Senator Cory Booker.

Balwani's trial began two months after Holmes' conviction, with the Pakistani businessman pleading not guilty to all charges against him and denying Holmes' claims that he was coercive, manipulative and abusive. In July 2022, Balwani was convicted of all counts: two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, six counts of defrauding investors and four counts of patient fraud. Balwani's attorneys vowed to appeal his conviction.

In December 2022, Balwani was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in federal prison. In April 2023, Balwani began serving his term at FCI Terminal Island in San Pedro, Calif., per KTVU.

In April 2023, Holmes appealed what her attorneys called an "unjust conviction." She asked to stay out of prison during her appeal process, but Judge Davila denied her request. Prosecutors accused Holmes of being a "flight risk," alleging that she purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico after her conviction to flee the country, and her appeal was ultimately denied.

Holmes and Evans welcomed their second child, daughter Invicta, between her sentencing and appeal filing. She began serving her sentence on May 30, 2023, at the minimum security women's correctional facility Federal Prison Camp Bryan in Bryan, Texas. In September 2023, a representative for Real Housewives of Salt Lake City alum Jen Shah told PEOPLE that Shah and Holmes became friends in prison.

Evans was photographed visiting Holmes with their children for her 40th birthday in early February 2024.

Despite Holmes' lengthy sentence, however, Holmes is tentatively scheduled for release on Dec. 29, 2032, nine years and seven months after beginning her term.

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