Disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for duping investors in the failed startup that promised to revolutionize blood testing but made her a symbol of Silicon Valley’s culture of audacious self-promotion, says the Associated Press. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila's sentence was shorter than the 15-year penalty requested by federal prosecutors but tougher than the leniency her legal team sought for the mother of a year-old son with another child on the way. Holmes, who was CEO throughout the company’s 15-year history, was convicted in January. The scheme revolved around the company’s claims to have developed a medical device that could detect a multitude of diseases and conditions from a few drops of blood. The technology never worked.
The saga of Holmes, 38, has been dissected in an HBO documentary and an award-winning Hulu series about her meteoric rise and mortifying downfall. Her lawyers argued that Holmes deserved lenient treatment as a well-meaning entrepreneur who is now a devoted mother with another child on the way. Their arguments were supported by more than 130 letters submitted by family, friends and former colleagues praising Holmes. Holmes must report to prison on April 27. After giving birth to a son shortly before her trial started last year, she became pregnant while free on bail this year. Her pregnancy was confirmed by her current partner, William “Billy” Evans, who urged the judge to be merciful. If Holmes’ pregnancy had a role in her sentence, the decision could prove controversial. A 2019 study found that more than 1,000 pregnant women entered federal or state prisons over a 12-month period; 753 of them gave birth in custody. A 2016 survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics said that 58 percent of women entering federal prison were mothers of minor children.