Convicted Elizabeth Holmes Pleads For ‘Lenient’ 18-Month Sentence At Home
Elizabeth Holmes was convicted earlier this year of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars following the epic demise of Silicon Valley blood-testing company Theranos Inc. Holmes’ lawyer filed a request to the judge for leniency in the sentencing and requested 18 months of home confinement instead of years in prison, reported Bloomberg.
Ten months after 50 hours of deliberations, the jury of eight men and four women convicted the Theranos founder of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for scamming investors about the innovative technology Theranos allegedly had to revolutionize blood testing with the simple prick of a patient’s finger.
Her lawyer penned a letter ahead of sentencing next week for US District Judge Edward Davila to overlook her fraudster caricature and instead focus on her as a human being. The memo said she deserved 18 months of home confinement rather than prison.
The memo was accompanied by letters from over 130 friends, family, and even Theranos investors, as well as former company employees who described Holmes as a ‘good person.’
Judge Davila has handled her case since the collapse of Theranos after reaching a valuation of $9 billion. Criminal defense lawyers tell Bloomberg that Holmes’ sentencing could send a warning shot to Silicon Valley companies that run on hopes and dreams.
Another expert said the sentencing of Holmes is to discourage technology startups that blind investors with hype. Holmes’ request subtracts about 18.5 years from the maximum incarceration period she faces for her convictions, with the memo noting that time would be better spent at home than in prison.
“We acknowledge that this may seem a tall order given the public perception of this case,” her lawyers wrote.
They added: the judge shouldn’t view Theranos as “a house of cards,” but as the “ambitious, inventive, and indisputably valuable enterprise it was.”
“The court’s difficult task is to look beyond those surface-level views when it fashions its sentence,” the letter concluded.
Holmes’s memo also expands on her childhood and years at Stanford University. It also touches on life’s traumas detailed in court, such as the rape of Holmes in college.
The memo reiterates her ex-boyfriend and a former executive at Theranos, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, of sexual abuse that clouded her judgment. Balwani, 57, was convicted of fraud in July and faces sentencing next month.
Holmes’ scheme defrauded media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, former Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, and Walmart’s Walton family for hundreds of millions of dollars. Defrauding the DeVos family of $100 million in one count alone calls for 9-11 years in prison.