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Elizabeth Holmes, Basis of Hulu Series The Dropout, Sentenced to More Than 11 Years in Prison


Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of medical startup firm Theranos, has been sentenced to 135 months (just over 11.25 years) in prison for her role in defrauding investors and consumers with a faulty blood-testing device that she claimed had massive potential.

A jury found Holmes guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud earlier this year, and U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila announced the sentence on Friday after a four-hour hearing. Following Holmes’ time in jail, she will face three years of supervised release.

Holmes’ story hit television screens this year in the Hulu limited series The Dropout. Starring Amanda Seyfried and Naveen Andrews, the show recounted the story of the Stanford University dropout who became the face of fraud in Silicon Valley. The series was highly acclaimed, and Seyfried won an Emmy in September for her portrayal of Holmes. Now, Seyfried’s real life subject is going behind bars.

Amanda Seyfried played Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout. | Image Source: IMDB

Back in the mid-2010s, Holmes was heavily promoted as a visionary entrepreneur. She was touted as the first self-made female tech billionare, and she promised that Theranos was developing a revolutionary technology that would make blood testing cheaper, easier and less painful. The company raised nearly $1 billion in private investment despite never proving that the technology worked.

In late 2015, Holmes’ empire started to crumble, with investigative reporting from The Wall Street Journal casting doubt on the company’s claims. Eventually, the Securities and Exchange Commission got involved and federal fraud charges were levied.

Holmes’ story has been followed on many other forms of media aside from The Dropout. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, a book by the reporter who broke the original story, was transformed into a podcast, and a documentary for HBO titled Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley was released in 2019.

Carson Burton is a freelance news writer for . You can follow him on Twitter at @carsonsburton.

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