Elizabeth Holmes trial: Federal prosecutors are asking for 15 years for Theranos fraud

Federal prosecutors filed a briefing on Friday asking a judge to sentence Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes to 15 years in prison for defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the 46-page briefing, Assistant US Attorney Robert S. Leach attacked Holmes for preferring “lies, hype and the prospect of billions of dollars to patient safety and fair dealings with investors.”

FILE: Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arrives in federal court in San Jose, California on October 17, 2022. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Elizabeth Holmes’ crimes didn’t fail, they lied — lies in the most serious of contexts, where everyone needed them to tell the truth,” Leach said.

Prosecutors also ordered Holmes to pay more than $800 million in compensation for her role in the year-long scheme.


“She capitalized on her investors’ hopes that a young, dynamic entrepreneur had transformed healthcare. She leveraged the credibility of her illustrious board,” Leach wrote. “And through her deception, she achieved spectacular fame, adoration, and billions of dollars in wealth.”

Leach wrote that the health of the actual patients was endangered by what Holmes had done.

“When the money ran out, she went into the market with an unproven and unreliable medical device,” he wrote. “When her lead assay developer quit when Theranos was launched, she frostily told the scientist, ‘She has a promise to deliver to the customer, she has no choice but to proceed with the launch.'”

Elizabeth Holmes appears in court

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arrives in federal court in San Jose, California on Monday, October 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu/AP Newsroom)

Holmes was convicted in January of three counts of wire fraud and one of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Holmes’ lawyers filed an 82-page document late Thursday asking for a lenient sentence of no more than 18 months and saying her reputation was permanently tarnished, turning her into a “caricature who is being ridiculed and slandered.” can”. They also argue that Holmes poses no danger to the public and has no criminal record.

Prosecutors called the case “one of the most serious white-collar crimes Silicon Valley or any district has seen” and vehemently dismissed defense attorneys’ characterization that Holmes was unjustly victimized, in part through media coverage.


Holmes is scheduled to appear before US District Judge Edward Davila for sentencing on November 18 in federal court in San Jose, California. She faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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