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Elizabeth Holmes in front of the prison in Texas


The founder of the biotech company Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, has started her sentence after being sentenced to more than eleven years in prison for fraud. "We can confirm that Elizabeth Holmes has arrived at the Bryan Federal Penitentiary Camp in Bryan, Texas," the Federal Penitentiary Department said. The prison is located near the city of Houston, where Holmes grew up.

A judge in the state of California had ordered two weeks ago that the 39-year-old must begin her prison sentence on May 30. The mother of two had previously failed with an application to remain free until the conclusion of an appeal process.

Holmes had been found guilty of four counts of defrauding investors in January 2022. In November, she was sentenced to eleven years and three months in prison, and in December her lawyers appealed the verdict.

The deep fall of the once celebrated Silicon Valley young entrepreneur has made headlines around the world. Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 when he was just 19 years old. The company used a supposedly revolutionary technology to advertise particularly fast, effective and cost-effective blood tests.

More than 400 million euros in damages

The charismatic entrepreneur was hailed as a tech pioneer and gained wealthy investors and prominent supporters such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The 39-year-old herself became a billionaire. Then reports from the Wall Street Journal revealed that the blood testing technology didn't work at all.

Holmes has always denied defrauding investors. While she acknowledged mistakes, she insisted that she believed in the potential of her technology. She also blamed her ex-boyfriend and former business partner Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani for the scandal.

He was also found guilty of fraud and sentenced to almost 13 years in prison. He is serving his sentence in a federal prison in California. Together, Holmes and Balwani must also pay their fraud victims damages of 452 million dollars (about 422 million euros).

According to the Wall Street Journal, the prison where Holmes was housed mainly detains women who have been convicted of white-collar crimes, minor drug offenses and the accommodation of illegal immigrants. Holmes could, therefore, be accommodated with up to three other women in a prison cell.