Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has reportedly surrendered herself to prison Tuesday, after a dramatic, years-long fall from charismatic, high-flying CEO to just one among hundreds of inmates — U.S. Bureau of Prisons register number 24965-111 — at minimum-security prison camp Bryan in Texas.
Under federal prison rules, the 39-year-old mother of two young children must serve at least 9 1/2 years of her sentence of more than 11 years.
Her arrival at the prison outside Houston was reported at 10:20 a.m. by FOX7 television news, in a tweet by a reporter accompanied by video footage from a distance of a blonde woman walking across the prison grounds.
“Elizabeth Holmes has arrived in jeans & a light brown top. She seemed to be in good spirits & laughing with the guards,” reporter Meredith Aldis tweeted.
Other reports with video footage from the Bryan prison soon emerged showing Holmes’ face clearly.
A Stanford University dropout who launched the now-defunct Palo Alto blood-testing company in 2003, Holmes had been free on bail since federal authorities hit her with fraud charges in 2018.
Holmes was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court in San Jose in January 2022 after a four-month trial of defrauding investors in her startup. In November, Judge Edward Davila sentenced her to prison but allowed a pregnant Holmes to defer incarceration until April 27. Holmes’ subsequent battle to remain free on bail through her appeal, which could take more than a year, ended earlier this month when the court hearing her appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, denied her final attempt.
Holmes, who had adopted the iconic black turtleneck of the legendary technologist and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, built her company to a valuation as high as $9 billion on the lie that it could conduct a wide variety of tests on just a few drops of blood from a finger-stick. Jurors in her trial heard she deluded investors and business partners with deceitful insinuations about her technology’s battlefield use, and concealed Theranos’ use of other companies’ machines for work hers could not do. The jury heard she stole logos from pharmaceutical companies and affixed them to glowing internal Theranos reports, and that she gave out documents with false information about the financial state of the company.
The trial generated world-wide media coverage, and jurors convicted Holmes of four counts of defrauding investors, but not on the charges related to blood-testing patients. Davila, also earlier this month, ordered Holmes to pay more than $450 million in restitution to investors, and to Walgreens, which housed Theranos blood-testing machines, and to Safeway, which dissolved a partnership with Theranos. Holmes has said in court filings that she “continues to work on ideas for patents” but “has essentially no assets of meaningful value” and “has incurred substantial debt from which she is unlikely to recover.” Holmes late last week filed a brief court notice that she is appealing Davila’s restitution order.
Holmes could walk free from prison long before the end of her sentence if she wins her appeal. But the Ninth Circuit’s one-page ruling earlier this month denying Holmes’ final bid to remain free on appeal was seen as an ominous sign, with the appeals court saying her motion to stay free failed to show that her appeal has raised questions of law or fact that could overturn her conviction, give her a new trial or reduce her sentence.