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

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

In the 46-page brief, Assistant US 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.”[ads1];

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

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

“Elizabeth Holmes’ crimes didn’t fail, they lied — lies in the most serious context, where everyone needed her to tell the truth,” Leach said.

Prosecutors also asked Holmes to pay more than $800 million in restitution for her role in the years-long scheme.


“She preyed on the hopes of her investors that a young, dynamic entrepreneur had changed health care. She exploited the credibility of her famous board,” Leach wrote. “And through her deception, she achieved spectacular fame, adoration and billions of dollars in wealth.”

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

“When the money dried up, she went into the market with an unproven and unreliable medical device,” he wrote. “When her lead analytics developer quit when Theranos launched, she coolly told the researcher, ‘she has a promise to deliver to the customer, she doesn’t have much choice but to go ahead with the launch’.”

Elizabeth Holmes arrives at court

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

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

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

Calling the case “one of the most extensive white-collar crimes Silicon Valley or any district has seen,” prosecutors strongly rejected defense attorneys’ characterization that Holmes had been unfairly victimized, in part by media coverage.


Holmes is scheduled to appear for sentencing Nov. 18 in federal court in San Jose, Calif., 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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