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Elizabeth Holmes was ordered to spend more than 11 years in prison for fraudulently building her blood-testing startup Theranos Inc. into a US$9 billion company that collapsed in scandal.
The sentence imposed Friday by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, is far closer to the 15-year term prosecutors asked for than what Holmes’s lawyers sought -- home detention or 18 months in prison at most.
The sentencing caps a years-long saga that has riveted Silicon Valley, inspiring books, TV documentaries, podcasts and films about the Stanford University dropout who became a celebrity entrepreneur, only to see her company crash when its technology was exposed as a failure.
Holmes appeared in court in a black dress and coat, visibly pregnant, and sat upright in her chair beside her lawyers, not touching the back of her seat. Upon hearing her punishment, she stood up to hug her parents, who were sitting in the first row of the courtroom behind her.
Ahead of the sentencing decision, she addressed the courtroom in tears, apologizing to victims and investors and saying she took full responsibility for Theranos.
“I am devastated by my failings,” Holmes said. “Looking back there are so many things I’d do differently if I had the chance. I tried to realize my dream too quickly.”
A jury convicted Holmes in January of four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy after prosecutors presented evidence and witness testimony that she knew the blood-testing devices she pitched as revolutionary to venture capitalists and wealthy investors didn’t actually work.