Wed 31 May 2023 12:47 pm - Jerusalem Time
Elizabeth Holmes..the world's youngest billionaire behind bars
Elizabeth Holmes, one of the most prominent faces of former Silicon Valley technology companies, who was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for fraud while heading the startup "Theranos" company, began her sentence on Tuesday in a Texas prison.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed to AFP that the former businesswoman had arrived at the federal prison in Bryan, Texas, as noted by reporters.
In January 2022, after a four-month trial, Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of fraud in fundraising for Theranos, after claiming it could revolutionize medical diagnostics.
Holmes made several judicial appeals to avoid going to prison, hoping to overturn her conviction, but they were all dismissed.
Holmes, 39, two decades after founding her company, is behind bars in a women's prison subject to a "minimum" security guard.
According to the BOB website, this type of prison contains dormitories, a small number of guards, and rehabilitation programs.
Theranos promised faster and cheaper diagnostics than traditional laboratories, thanks to methods the company presented as revolutionary that allow multiple tests to be performed with a very small amount of blood.
But the technology never worked, and the company closed in 2018, leaving behind investors who poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the company's capital.
Elizabeth Holmes has always claimed good faith, denying that she deliberately sought to deceive investors.
In mid-May, Judge Edward Davila ordered her and former Theranos chief operating officer Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani to return $452 million to the investors.
Among those investors is Rupert Murdock, to whom the two former partners owe $125 million.
In an interview with The New York Times, published in early May, Elizabeth Holmes explained that even before she was ordered to pay damages, she had been unable to pay the court fees, which prosecutors calculated at more than $30 million.
"I will have to work for the rest of my life to pay them back," she said.
The press reported that Holmes married Billy Evans in 2019, whose family owns a chain of hotels. She has two young children.
In 2014, Forbes magazine estimated Holmes' wealth at $4.5 billion, describing her as the youngest billionaire who made her own fortune and did not inherit it.