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Elizabeth Holmes trial: federal prosecutors seeking 15 years for Theranos fraud


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

In the 46-page briefing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Leach attacked Holmes for choosing “lies, hype and the prospect of billions of dollars over patient safety and fair dealing with investors.” 

elizabeth holmes

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

“Elizabeth Holmes’ crimes were not failing, they were lying — lying in the most serious context, where everyone needed her to tell the truth,” Leach said. 

Prosecutors also called for Holmes to pay more than $800 million in restitution for her role in the yearslong scheme.

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“She preyed on hopes of her investors that a young, dynamic entrepreneur had changed healthcare. She leveraged the credibility of her illustrious board,” Leach wrote. “And, through her deceit, she attained spectacular fame, adoration, and billions of dollars of wealth.”

Leach wrote that the health of actual patients was put into jeopardy by what Holmes had done.

“As money was drying up, she went to market with an unproven and unreliable medical device,” he wrote. “When her lead assay developer quit as Theranos launched, she chillingly told the scientist: ‘she has a promise to deliver to the customer, she doesn’t have much of a choice but to go ahead with the launch.'”

Elizabeth Holmes arrives at court

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes arrives at federal court in San Jose, Calif., Mon., Oct. 17, 2022.  ( AP Photo/Jeff Chiu / AP Newsroom)

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

Holmes’ attorneys filed an 82-page document late Thursday calling for a lenient sentence of no more than 18 months, saying her reputation was permanently destroyed, turning her into a “caricature to be mocked and vilified.” They also argue that Holmes poses no danger to the public and has no prior criminal history.

Calling the case “one of the most substantial white collar offenses Silicon Valley or any other District has seen,” prosecutors vehemently rejected defense attorneys’ characterization that Holmes had been unfairly victimized, in part by media coverage.

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Holmes is set to appear for sentencing on Nov. 18 in federal court in San Jose, California before U.S. District Judge Edward Davila. She faces up to 20 years in prison for each count. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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